ASH Daily News for 10 October 2019
- Tobacco industry has least influence on the UK, watchdog ranking reveals
- Scotland: MSPs consider plans to introduce new penalties for smoking outside of hospital buildings
- Comment: Whilst India bans e-cigarettes, beedis and oral toabcco remain widespread
- Ireland: Government to consider banning sale of vaping products to under 18s
Tobacco industry has least influence on the UK, watchdog ranking reveals
The first ever global index to track tobacco industry influence over public health policy has revealed that the UK is a world leader in efforts to curtail undue meddling.
According to the report, published by the industry watchdog Stop (Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products), the UK, Uganda, Iran and Kenya are the most successful at “resisting industry interference” in government. Japan, Jordan, Egypt and Bangladesh have the highest levels of tobacco industry influence of the 33 countries tracked, the report says.
The index ranks governments across the globe on a scale of zero to 100 on seven key areas, including transparency, the tobacco industry’s level of participation in policy development and the number of government measures in place to prevent interference. Lower scores represent lower overall levels of interference – the UK scores 26, while Japan comes in highest with 88. The US is also among the worst 10 countries, scoring 72.
The report comes just months after a study from the World Health Organization (WHO) found that many countries are lagging behind in efforts to end the “tobacco epidemic” – in 2017 there were 1.4 billion smokers over the age of 15 globally, only a slight decline from the 1.46 billion in 2007. This slow progress is largely because tobacco industry influence over government policy is hampering global efforts to stamp out smoking, the WHO warned.
Although Britain topped the index, experts warn that the country still has a way to go to entirely curtail interference. “The index shows that the UK still has a long way to go. There is no effective lobbying register, meetings between government representatives or Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials and the industry are not always transparent, and some parliamentarians and political parties continue to engage with the tobacco industry. The index should serve as a road-map to eliminate these gaps” said Dr Mateusz Zatoński from the tobacco control research group at the University of Bath.
Source: The Telegraph, 10 October 2019
Scotland: MSPs consider plans to introduce new penalties for smoking outside of hospital buildings
Legally enforceable no-smoking areas could be introduced around hospital buildings in Scotland under new proposals being considered by MSPs in a recently launched consultation.
A law has already been passed by Parliament to establish no-smoking areas outside of hospital buildings, making it an offence to smoke there. However, MSPs are now considering what penalties could be imposed to ensure compliance with the policy.
The consultation will consider three particular issues – the distance forming the perimeter of no-smoking areas outside hospital buildings, the wording of no-smoking notices and how they’re displayed, and whether there are any specific areas of land or buildings on hospital grounds where there is no need for a no-smoking area. The use of Nicotine Vapour Products (NVPs), including e-cigarettes, on hospital grounds outside of no-smoking areas will also be considered as part of the consultation.
Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick said: “The smoke-free grounds policy has had some impact but has not been sufficient to end the practice of smoking around hospitals…Smoking remains the most significant cause of ill health in Scotland – leading to up to 100,000 hospitalisations per year and more than 9,000 premature deaths. Our hospitals need to be seen as accessible, open places which promote good health and lifestyle choices. Every aspect of life there should reflect that” he said.
Source: The Scotsman, 9 October 2019
Comment: Whilst India bans e-cigarettes, beedis and oral toabcco remain widespread
Sushmita Pathak and Lauren Frayer write for National Public Radio (NPR) on India’s preoccupation with e-cigarettes whilst tobacco use remains ubiquitous:
“India banned electronic cigarettes last month. With about 100 million smokers, India has the second-largest smoking population in the world, after China. Amid global reports of deaths and illnesses linked to vaping, India decided to ban e-cigarettes preventatively. They had yet to become popular.
“But other forms of tobacco already are. In fact, twice as many Indians (about 200 million) use smokeless tobacco — like paan or chewing tobacco — than cigarettes. That’s the most in the world. Those products are harder to regulate because they’re mostly sold at street kiosks, for a fraction of the price of cigarettes […] Dr. Gauravi Mishra, a preventative oncologist working in a Mumbai hospital, notes that “India has the highest number of oral cavity cancers. In fact, one-third of the global burden comes from only one country — and that’s India.”
“[…] More than one in five Indians over the age of 15 uses some form of smokeless tobacco. (The figure is nearly one-third for men.) Poor laborers often chew tobacco as a stimulant, like chewing gum, to kill their appetite. Some even use tobacco ash as toothpaste.
“Part of the problem is awareness. “If someone is smoking, they might be looked down upon. But smokeless tobacco is culturally accepted. If you visit any rural area, people will greet you with paan,” Mishra says. Another part of the problem is packaging. Indian law requires cigarette companies to print health warnings on cigarette packs. Often, they carry graphic photos of tobacco-related tumours. So people know that smoking cigarettes is bad. But other tobacco products are sold loose. Hand-rolled leaf cigarettes, or beedis, are green. They look organic. And they’re seven to eight times more common in India than conventional cigarettes, according to the World Health Organization.”
Source: NPR, 9 October 2019
Ireland: Government to consider banning sale of vaping products to under 18s
The government is to consider restricting the sale of vaping products to minors and prohibiting advertising. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that any changes to legislation on e-cigarettes will be based on scientific advice and what is advised by public health doctors and experts.
Mr Varadkar said that research is being carried out into the impact of vaping on the health of people and children. “You need to assess the extent to which is damaging to somebody’s health and then respond having taken that into account…These are definitely things that government will consider, but we will do it based on the evidence and the scientific advice and what our public health doctors and experts say” Mr Varadkar said.
Source: Belfast Telegraph, 9 October 2019