ASH Daily News for 13 January 2020



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UK

  • Yorkshire: Morley corner shop stripped of alcohol licence after selling illegal cigarettes

International

  • Judge blocks New York ban on flavoured vaping products
  • Chinese e-cigarette company Relx to open 10,000 stores globally within three years
  • Australia: Tobacco giants lobby PM and key MPs with pro-vaping message
  • Review: The Cigarette: A Political History by Sarah Milov — smoke and mirrors

UK

Yorkshire: Morley corner shop stripped of alcohol licence after selling illegal cigarettes

A corner shop in Morley has had its licence revoked after selling illegal tobacco from the premises. Undercover West Yorkshire Trading Standards officers were sold illegal packets of tobacco six times over the course of 10 months. Officers paid £4.00 for a pack of 20 cigarettes which would usually retail at over £10.

During the same period, Trading Standards inspected the premises three times. On each occasion officers discovered the illegal tobacco in the store with the help of tobacco detection dogs. Cigarettes were found behind stock on shelves and behind soft drinks cans in fridges, as well as in the rear yard of the building.

Councillor Pauline Grahame, Chair of the West Yorkshire Joint Services Committee which oversees the work of Trading Standards said; “We want to see health improvement in this county and with poor and disadvantaged communities and young people often the target of this cheap tobacco, it does not encourage people to quit. Offenders need to know that they will face consequences if they choose to deal in these illegal products.”

Source: Yorkshire Evening Post, 13 January 2020

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International

Judge blocks New York ban on flavoured vaping products

A judge has blocked New York state from enforcing an executive order banning flavoured vaping products. Acting state Supreme Court Justice Catherine Cholakis ruled that the state Public Health and Health Planning Council overstepped its authority last September when it issued a ban on e-cigarettes and e-liquids flavoured with anything other than tobacco or menthol.

In a ruling issued this week in Albany, Cholakis said regulating the vaping industry is a job for the state Legislature, not the executive branch, whose function is to implement policy set by lawmakers. The emergency ban was challenged by the Vapor Technology Association, an industry group, and two of its member businesses. The judge granted their request for an injunction against enforcing the ban.

The e-cigarette industry argued that the ban would have forced vaping businesses across the state to close. Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo has called vaping a public health crisis and accused “unscrupulous vaping companies” of targeting young people.

Source: NBC New York, 12 January 2020

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Chinese e-cigarette company Relx to open 10,000 stores globally within three years

E-cigarette company Relx Technology said on Saturday it will open 10,000 stores globally over the next three years in a big expansion for the Chinese vaping startup.

Relx currently has more than 1,400 stores globally, the majority of which are located in China and run by third-parties. The company said it would attempt to get its products on sale in more convenience stores, electronics shops, and corner shops.

Regulatory scrutiny in both the United States and China has placed pressure on China’s e-cigarette supply chain in the southern city of Shenzhen, where approximately 90% of the world’s e-cigarettes are manufactured. According to China’s top e-cigarette trade association, the labour force across the industry’s supply chain in the country shrank approximately 10% last autumn due to regulations dampening demand.

Source: Reuters, 11 January 2020

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Australia: Tobacco giants lobby PM and key MPs with pro-vaping message

International tobacco companies have sought meetings with the Prime Minister and leading cabinet members in an effort to overturn Australia’s ban on nicotine vaping. Correspondence obtained by ABC reveals that in 2019 Philip Morris sent meeting requests and pro-vaping letters to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Health Minister Greg Hunt and Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt, among others.

ABC is not aware any meetings with the three ministers took place, but health groups are troubled by the tobacco industry’s continued efforts to influence Australian health policy.

Australia largely outlaws the sale of nicotine liquid unlike the United States and the EU. Nicotine for vaping can only be obtained with a prescription.

In a statement, Philip Morris confirmed it engages with government and regulatory agencies about heated tobacco products and e-cigarettes. It says its materials aim to “promote political debate and to encourage legalisation and appropriate regulation of these products”. Philip Morris recently applied to the Therapeutic Goods Administration for regulatory changes that would make heated tobacco products legal.

Source: ABC News, 9 January 2020

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Review: The Cigarette: A Political History by Sarah Milov — smoke and mirrors

The Financial Times reviews ‘The Cigarette: A Political History’ by Sarah Milov. The book tracks the rise and fall of tobacco in America shows how government and grassroots movements shape consumer tastes.

“For a country that likes to style itself as the libertarian home of self-reliance, government in the US has a remarkably active role in picking economic winners and losers. Price supports for farmers, regulatory interventions and outright state funding for innovation through the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency among others have all helped shape what consumer goods are profitable to produce and popular with the American public.

“This was particularly true for tobacco products in the 20th century, as Sarah Milov expertly demonstrates in The Cigarette. The rising popularity of smoking and the economic livelihoods of southern tobacco farmers in the first part of the century owed their success to government support, while the rapid decline in smoking owed much to public interest groups who fought for regulatory and legal intervention.

“Milov carefully traces how industry lobbyists helped ensure that US loans to recovering countries could be used to purchase American tobacco. The industry also benefited from the later Food for Peace programme that sought to inoculate Latin America and south-east Asia against the lure of communism by demonstrating the abundance that capitalism could bring. For many consumers, the Marlboro Man came to symbolise not just Philip Morris’s brand of cigarettes but also the American dream.

“Milov offers insights into the way tobacco companies and their lobbyists exploited America’s federal system to slow down and weaken efforts to cut cigarette use despite growing evidence of the harm it causes. When cities enacted tough bans on smoking in workplaces and restaurants, the companies went to the state capitals and lobbied for weaker statewide restrictions that pre-empted the local rules. Other public interest groups that are seeking to use state and local rules to rein in opioid makers and Big Tech should take note.”

Source: Financial Times, 10 January 2020

The Cigarette: A Political History, by Sarah Milov, Harvard, RRP$28.95, 395 pages

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