ASH Daily News for 12 March 2019


  • Japan Tobacco wins court protection in Canada over smoking damages case
  • Study: Prenatal smoking tied to higher risk of infant sleep-related deaths
  • Study: Parents who avoid smoking at home may vape around children

Parliamentary Activity

  • Parliamentary questions



Japan Tobacco wins court protection in Canada over smoking damages case

Japan Tobacco’s Canadian unit was granted creditor protection by the Ontario Superior Court after a legal defeat forcing tobacco companies to compensate smokers for smoking related diseases. The court extended protection in favor of JTI-Macdonald Corp. after the tobacco company argued that the damage award of as much as 1.77 billion Canadian dollars (roughly £1.01 billion) exceeds its capacity to pay. JTI-Macdonald must make an initial damages deposit of C$145 million (£83 million).

The Canadian units of British American Tobacco (BAT), Philip Morris International Inc. and Japan Tobacco were ordered earlier this month to pay damages estimated at C$13.5 billion (£7.73 billion). BAT said this week the ruling would hit its profit and set aside C$758 million (£434 million) to cover damages, while Philip Morris cut its 2019 outlook.

Rob Cunningham, from the Canadian Cancer Society, said “This a tactic by JTI-Macdonald to try and avoid paying out what they are supposed to pay out,” he said. “They are a very successful company that has the capacity to pay.” JTI-Macdonald said it will also proceed with an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada over the ruling ordering them to pay compensation.

Source: Bloomberg, 9 March 2019

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Study: Prenatal smoking tied to higher risk of infant sleep-related deaths

Mothers who smoke during pregnancy are more than twice as likely to have babies die suddenly in their sleep as women who do not, a US study suggests.

The current study offers fresh evidence of how much cutting back or quitting might help improve babies’ survival odds. “We found that smoking even a single cigarette daily during pregnancy doubled the risk of SUID [sudden unexpected infant death syndrome]” said lead study author Tatiana Anderson of the Seattle Children’s Research Institute.

Anderson’s team examined data from more than 12.4 million births and nearly 11,000 SUID cases. Smokers who cut back during pregnancy had a 12% lower risk of SUID than smokers who didn’t curb their cigarette use, the researchers found. Smokers who quit had a 23% lower risk of SUID. “Mothers who smoked in the three months before pregnancy and quit by the first trimester still had a nearly 50% greater chance of a SUID death compared to nonsmokers,” Anderson also said.

Source: Reuters, 11 March 2019

Pediatrics – Maternal smoking before and during pregnancy and the risk of sudden unexpected infant death

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Study: Parents who avoid smoking at home may vape around children

Parents who smoke cigarettes and use e-cigarettes may vape around kids at home and in cars rather than smoking around their kids, a US study suggests. The study authors interviewed 761 parents at 5 pediatric practices in Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, and Virginia who were either smokers or vapers, or both, and asked them whether they had smokefree or ‘vapefree’ policies at home and in their cars.

Of the interviewees, most – 85%- only smoked, while 4.5% used only e-cigarettes and 11% used both (dual-users). Dual users (22.2%) were less likely than cigarette-only users (37.5%) and less likely than e-cigarette only users (48.4%) to have strictly enforced smokefree policies which covered both the home and car. Dual users were more likely to report anyone smoking in the car than cigarette-only users (72% vs 56%). Parents were less likely to have smokefree or ‘vape-free’ home and car policies when they smoked more cigarettes daily and when they had at least one child under 10 years old.

“Neither designating a room for smoking nor ventilating the dwelling eliminates the dangerous exposure of nonsmokers in the household to second-hand smoke,” Dr. Alexander Prokhorov, director of the youth and family cancer prevention program at the University of Texas, said. “The only way to completely eliminate such an exposure is to adopt the unconditional tobacco-free indoor air policy in the household.”

Source: Reuters, 11 March 2019

Pediatrics – Parental smoking and e-cigarette use in homes and cars

Editorial note: The 2018 independent evidence review of e-cigarettes published by Public Health England concluded that, to date, no health risks to bystanders have been identified from passive vaping (secondhand inhalation of vapour from e-cigarettes by non-users).

See also: PHE – E-cigarettes and heated tobacco products: evidence review

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Parliamentary Activity

Parliamentary questions

PQ1: Heated tobacco products review

Asked by Virendra Sharma, Ealing Southall
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 20 February 2019 to Question 222001, when Public Health England plans to undertake an independent academic review of heated tobacco products.

Answered by Steve Brine, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Under the Government’s Tobacco Control Plan for England, Public Health England (PHE) is committed to conducting an annual review of the evidence on e-cigarettes and other nicotine delivery systems until the end of the Parliament in 2022. This can be viewed at the following link:
The scope of these reviews includes heated tobacco products and PHE published an evidence review of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products in February 2018. The review is available at the following link:
The Government currently has no plans to conduct a separate review of heated tobacco products outside of the programme.

Source: Hansard, HC Deb, 11 March 2019

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