ASH Daily News for 08 January 2015



  • American Red Cross urged to rid itself of tobacco money
  • Scotland: Discarded cigarette caused fatal New Year’s Eve fire
  • West Yorkshire: Fire Service warns smokers of the dangers of cigarettes
  • Ireland: Tobacco firm claims standard packs law is being “rushed in”
  • US: Tobacco companies criticize federal judge
  • China: Electronic cigarette controls considered

    American Red Cross urged to rid itself of tobacco money

    The American Red Cross is coming under pressure to stop accepting donations from the tobacco industry. The US group and its affiliates have received at least $12m from tobacco firms since 2001 and the humanitarian group’s parent organisation says it risks damaging the global brand. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies stated that officials have talked with American Red Cross officials asking them to drop the tobacco funding and that it would continue “to put pressure” on the charity to change its policy.

    The International Red Cross stopped accepting donations in 2008 and has recently rolled out a global disease prevention program with a strong anti-smoking component. However, although most of the group’s 189 national affiliates have also stopped, around half a dozen, including the US and Germany still take tobacco money.

    Pressure on the American Red Cross is coming from other advocacy organisations. In December, some of the largest U.S. public health advocacy organizations, including the Public Health Law Center and Action on Smoking & Health (US), wrote to American Red Cross President Gail McGovern, urging the organisation to stop taking tobacco donations.

    Source: New York Times, January 7th 2015

    Scotland: Discarded cigarette caused fatal New Year’s Eve fire

    An investigation has found that a fatal house fire in Monifieth on New Year’s Eve was caused by the careless disposal of a cigarette. Heather Mair, who was 55, died after the fire took hold on the couch in her living room at approximately 10.30pm.

    UK figures for 2012-13 show that the careless disposal of cigarettes and other products, including cigars and pipes, were the cause for approximately 40% of fatalities that occurred in dwellings — more than 80 deaths.

    Source: The Courier, 7th January 2015

    West Yorkshire: Fire Service warns smokers of the dangers of cigarettes

    West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service have issued a photo of a living room destroyed by a cigarette fire in the hope that it will remind smokers of the dangers cigarettes can pose in their homes.

    The Service is hoping to curb the number of fires started by smoking materials in the area after dealing with 22 fires caused by cigarettes in Kirklees last year.

    Source: The Huddersfield Daily Examiner, 7th January 2015

    Ireland: Tobacco firm claims standard packs law is being “rushed in”

    Following a report prepared for on its behalf by EPS consulting, the Irish arm of tobacco company JTI is claiming that the Department of Health in Ireland has “ignored” numerous Government and EU guidelines in an effort to introduce legislation as quickly as possible.

    It states that a Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) on the possible consequences of the legislation was only commissioned four months after the Government had decided to legislate for the introduction of plain tobacco packaging and that this means the Government’s decision to publish a bill and hold a debate on standard packs happened “in absence of fundamental information”.

    The claims from JTI come as a new report from the Department of Health has found that 5,200 deaths every year in Ireland are directly attributable to tobacco use.

    Source: Business Irish, 8th January 2015

    US: Tobacco companies criticize federal judge

    Tobacco companies in the US have accused a federal judge of forcing them to inaccurately describe themselves as unscrupulous villains who continue to deceive the public.

    In an appeals court filing, the industry said statements ordered by the judge in a government lawsuit should be scrapped. US District Judge Gladys Kessler ordered the cigarette makers to admit they had lied for decades about the dangers of smoking and to publicise a federal court’s conclusion the industry deliberately deceived the public.

    In 2009, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit directed Kessler to craft corrective statements confined to purely factual and uncontroversial information that would reveal previously hidden truths about the tobacco industry’s products but the companies have said in the new filing that the judge went beyond those instructions and ordered a series of inflammatory statements that require the defendants to denigrate themselves.

    Arguments in the case will be heard in February.

    Source: Daily Mail Online, 7th January 2015

    China: Electronic cigarette controls considered

    According to an official of the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration, China is considering bringing electronic cigarettes under State management to ensure a standardised and well-regulated development of the product.

    China had roughly 900 e-cigarette manufacturers by the end of 2013, up 200 percent over the previous year. Worldwide, more than 80 percent of the e-cigarettes in a market worth $3 billion are made in China.

    Source:, 7th January 2015