ASH Daily News for 08 February 2019



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UK

  • G4S faces prosecution over failure to implement indoor smoking ban at immigration detention centre
  • Wales: Scheme to help employees quit smoking at work

International

  • US: FDA to take action against Walgreens for violating tobacco sale laws by selling to minors

Parliamentary Activity

  • Parliamentary questions

Links of the week

  • Chartered Institute of Housing blog – Smoking in the home: New solutions for a smokefree generation
  • National No Smoking Day March 13th: Today is the day

UK

G4S faces prosecution over failure to implement indoor smoking ban at immigration detention centre

The security company G4S is facing prosecution for allegedly failing to implement a smoking ban at an immigration removal centre, in the first case of its kind. Crawley council is bringing the highly unusual prosecution, and a court summons ordering G4S to appear at Crawley magistrates court next month has been issued.

The high court ruled last year that allowing smoking within the centre was unlawful and a breach of detainees human rights following a legal challenge brought by two men formerly detained at the centre who had described living in poorly ventilated conditions where many people smoked. The manager at Brook House was instructed to ban indoor smoking by 1 April 2018. An independent investigation into conditions at Brook House immigration removal centre was published last December. It found that smoking inside the centre continued openly.

Lewis Kett, a solicitor at Duncan Lewis who brought the high court case that resulted in the smoking ban, said: “It’s now been over a year since the high court ruled that the Home Office were knowingly evading the law by permitting smoking in detention centres. Despite this we have clients who have continued to complain that G4S has not cracked down on this. This is a serious public health issue and we welcome the news that this prosecution will proceed.”

Source: The Guardian, 7 February 2019

See also: The Guardian – Asylum seekers win case over smoking in immigration detention centres

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Wales: Scheme to help employees quit smoking at work

A manufacturing firm, Sandvik Osprey, has begun holding smoking cessation sessions run by NHS Wales at its Neath Port plant. After conducting a survey to capture staff support for the initiative, an arrangement was made for an NHS Wales Stop Smoking Advisor to deliver weekly group sessions at the plant. Every week the advisor speaks to the group about their progress, measures their carbon monoxide levels using a CO monitor and advises on nicotine replacement therapy to combat cravings.

The company’s Safety, Health, Environment and Quality Manager, Sheraine Thomas, said “The reason why I think it has been so successful is because it is here. The smoking cessation advisor came to the site and ran the sessions every week at the same time. The guys taking part have kept in touch with each other by phone and seen each other on site. One guy told us he’d wanted a fag one day but he and a friend had a chat and they motivated each other to stay on track.”

Suzanne Cass, CEO of ASH Wales, said the success of the scheme demonstrates the role that employers can play in helping to cut smoking prevalence in Wales as part of their staff wellbeing programmes. “Smoking costs Welsh businesses around £88.4 million a year and there are numerous benefits to employers of reducing the numbers of workers that smoke – from increased productivity to a greatly reduced levels of sickness absence” she said.

Source: Wales 247, 7 February 2019

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International

US: FDA to take action against Walgreens for violating tobacco sale laws by selling to minors

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Thursday 7 February 2019 it was taking action against certain retailers including Walgreen Boots Alliance for repeatedly flouting tobacco sale rules, including sale of cigars and menthol cigarettes to minors.

Walgreens is currently the top violator among pharmacies that sell tobacco products, with 22% of its inspected stores having illegally sold tobacco products to minors, the U.S. health regulator said in a statement.

“I will be writing [to] the corporate management of Walgreens and requesting a meeting with them to discuss whether there is a corporate-wide issue related to their stores’ non-compliance.” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said. Thursday’s action against Walgreens follows over 1,550 warning letters and 240 civil money penalty actions against its stores nationwide for unlawful tobacco product sales to minors, the agency said.

Source: Reuters, 7 February 2019

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Parliamentary Activity

Parliamentary questions

PQ1: Smoking cessation campaigns spending

Asked by Bob Blackman, Harrow East
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much his Department spent from the public purse on campaigns to promote the cessation of smoking in 2017-18.

Answered by Steve Brine, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care
Expenditure on smoking cessation advertising campaigns by Public Health England in 2017-18 was £1.99 million.

Campaign spending is defined as covering only media spend. Figures are net, rounded to nearest £10,000. Figures exclude value added tax.

Media spend includes expenditure for advertising on television, radio, national press, regional press, out of home (outdoor), cinema and digital. Recruitment advertising and media partnerships are not included.

Source: Hansard, HC Deb, 6 February 2019
Link: https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2019-01-29.214029.h

 

Links of the week

Chartered Institute of Housing blog – Smoking in the home: New solutions for a smokefree generation

Writing in the Chartered Institute of Housing’s (CIH) blog, Hazel Cheeseman, Director of Policy at ASH, discusses the housing sector’s role in tackling health problems caused by smoking and outlines the latest findings from ASH’s recent report Smoking in the home: New solutions for a smokefree generation.

See Blog

National No Smoking Day March 13th: Today is the day

The Today is the Day website is now live and counting down to National No Smoking Day on March 13th. The Today is the Day campaign has been developed by Breathe2025 to raise awareness about National No Smoking Day and support local stop smoking services and the NHS to help people to quit smoking.

The website provides a range of campaign resources including downloadable artwork for display on plasma screens; downloadable social media images, email footers and campaign logos; and banners which are available on request.

See Website