ASH Daily News for 10 February 2020



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UK

  • NHS Scotland backs vaping despite advert ban
  • New call for cigarillo tax as menthol cigarette ban is just months away
  • British American Tobacco looking into cannabis vape flavours

Parliamentary Activity

  • Parliamentary questions

UK

NHS Scotland backs vaping despite advert ban

NHS Scotland is promoting vaping as a quitting aid even as the Scottish government is set to ban adverts for e-cigarettes. Health directors have started a new drive to persuade smokers to quit smoking, encouraging them to switch to an e-cigarette instead.

Nicola Sturgeon announced in September that her SNP government would consult on a ban on advertising for e-cigarettes and vaping products in the “coming months”, promising more legislation if necessary. Under current regulations in the UK, the sale of vapes is permitted for over-18s and the nicotine content is limited to 20 milligrams per millilitre.

NHS Health Scotland is now issuing new leaflets on “How to Stop Smoking” including vaping as an acceptable alternative. About 13,000 people die every year in Scotland from smoking or related diseases. 18% of Scots smoke, a higher proportion than the rest of the UK.

Professor Linda Bauld, a public health specialist at Edinburgh University, said: “Even though vaping isn’t safe, it is less harmful. The NHS advice is about e-cigarettes as a way to quit smoking, so the two are not incompatible.”

A spokesman for NHS Health Scotland said: “Although they contain nicotine, which is addictive, vaping carries less risk than smoking tobacco. It would therefore be a good thing if smokers used e-cigarettes instead of tobacco cigarettes, only as a potential route towards stopping smoking. Further research is required to understand the risks of e-cigarettes.”

Source: The Times, 10 February 2020

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New call for cigarillo tax as menthol cigarette ban is just months away

Health campaigners are calling on the government to raise taxes on cigarillos to discourage young people from taking up smoking, ahead of a ban on menthol cigarettes which comes into force in May 2020.

It comes as a new mentholated cigarillo brand, which is exempt from the ban, was launched by the tobacco manufacturer Japan Tobacco International (JTI). Menthols, menthol rollies and skinny cigarettes will be prohibited under the new rules. It’s part of a four-year phasing-out period stemming from the EU Tobacco Product Directive, which entered into force in May 2014 and became applicable in EU countries on May 2016.

Charities warn that the new brand of cigarillos – a short, narrow cigar – get round the new legislation. Unlike conventional cigarettes, cigarillos, which have an outer wrapping of tobacco leaf, are exempt from the menthol ban, as well as from existing legislation requiring cigarettes to be sold in minimum pack sizes of 20 and in plain standardised packaging.

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), the Tobacco Control Research Group at the University of Bath, and Cancer Research UK are calling on the Chancellor to raise taxes on the products. Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH, said: “Getting round the ban by launching a mentholated cigarillo, which is essentially a cigarette wrapped in tobacco leaf, is breathtakingly cynical even for the tobacco companies.

“Their own research tells them menthol makes it easier for young people to start smoking because it masks the harshness when they first try to inhale. Legislating to extend the menthol ban to cigarillos will take time.

“In the interim the Chancellor should use the Budget to increase the tax on cigarillos to be no less than that on cigarettes, to help discourage young people with limited disposable income from buying these products.”

Source: The Sun, 7 February 2020

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British American Tobacco looking into cannabis vape flavours

British American Tobacco (BAT), which sells Dunhill, Lucky Strike and Benson & Hedges cigarettes, is looking at introducing CBD (cannabidiol) and cannabis flavourings into its vaping products.

The head of the firm’s Southampton research facility, which leads its development of non-cigarette products, has told the PA news agency it is “evaluating” the science and regulations around potentially using CBD and cannabis flavourings. BAT, which sells vape brands Vype and Vuse, employs around 1,100 staff at its Southampton research and development site, which is focused on its vaping, heated tobacco and oral tobacco products.

Source: ITV News, 10 February 2020

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Parliamentary Activity

Parliamentary questions

Asked by Yasmin Qureshi, Bolton South East
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Government plans to bring forward legislative proposals to ban smoking at the entrances of public buildings.

Answered by Jo Churchill, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care
The Government has a track record of reducing the harm caused by tobacco. The United Kingdom is a world leader and has been rated the best in Europe on tobacco control by independent experts.

The Health Act 2006 and the Smoke-free (Premises and Enforcement) Regulations 2006 made it illegal to smoke in public enclosed or substantially enclosed areas and workplaces. We support development and implementation of smoke-free policies locally in and around public premises.

Source: Hansard, 7 February 2020

https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2020-01-29/9642/