ASH Daily News for 13 March 2020



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UK

  • Scotland: Comment: Dr Punam Krishan – More now than ever it’s vital for smokers to quit
  • Bolton store owner gets four-figure fine after illegal tobacco find

Parliamentary Activity

  • Parliamentary Questions

Link of the week

  • Chancellor increases taxes on cigarettes but more needed to achieve Government ambition of a Smokefree 2030

UK

Scotland: Comment: Dr Punam Krishan – More now than ever it’s vital for smokers to quit

“One of the risk factors that increases your chances of getting lung infections like pneumonia, flu and now coronavirus is smoking.

“Smoking is one our greatest societal challenges as it remains the biggest single preventable cause of ill-health, disability and early death in Scotland.

“Smoking is a significant public health problem causing an annual estimated rate of one in four deaths in Scotland. More than 33,000 hospital admissions are secondary to complications of smoking every year. This not only places a lot of challenges on patients themselves but such peaks, especially in winter, puts the NHS under immense pressure, costing the health service around £400million every year. Just imagine what we could do for the country’s health with this money!

“In light of the rapidly spreading cases of coronavirus which targets the lungs, if ever there was an incentive to try quit, now was it!

“In smokers the lining of the lungs is more vulnerable and smoking causes you to produce more of the receptors which the COVID-19 virus can latch on to. The main target for this virus is of course the airways, so by stopping smoking, you are significantly reducing your risk.

“In summary, for anyone who is reading this and is a smoker, I urge you to seek help and push yourself to try and quit. It is not easy but right now, it’s crucial that you take every measure to protect your airways and mitigate any risks to your health, especially from COVID-19.”

Source: Glasgow Evening Times, 13 March 2020

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Bolton store owner gets four-figure fine after illegal tobacco find

A store owner has been handed a four-figure fine, while more people are facing legal action, after raids by Bolton Trading Standards found thousands of illicit tobacco products.

A multi-agency inspection of the Bolton store in March discovered illegal cigarette packets and tobacco pouches in a black bag. The shop owner, who tried to sneak the bag out of the back exit when officers arrived, claimed to have bought the items for personal use from a man who came into the shop just 20 minutes earlier. When asked to provide CCTV evidence of this transaction he claimed his surveillance system had stopped working.

Bolton Magistrates’ Court found the owner guilty of intent to supply illegal cigarettes and ordered him to pay a £100 fine and £1,300 in costs. The raid was part of an ongoing campaign by Bolton Council and partner agencies to clamp down on the trade in illicit tobacco.

Source: Talking Retail, 12 March 2020

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Parliamentary Activity

Parliamentary Question

PQ: Smoking in pregnancy

Asked by Mr Gregory Campbell, East Londonderry
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the current prevalence rate of women smoking during pregnancy; and what assessment he has made of the likelihood of reducing that prevalence to 6 per cent by the end of 2022.

Answered by Jo Churchill, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care
In 2018/19 the prevalence of smoking in pregnant women was 10.6%.

The Government has a track record of reducing the harms caused by tobacco and is committed to achieving its ambition to reduce smoking in pregnancy to 6% or less by 2022.

Source: Hansard, 12 March 2020

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Link of the week

Chancellor increases taxes on cigarettes but more needed to achieve Government ambition of a Smokefree 2030

In Wednesday’s budget (11 March) the Government committed to continuing the tax escalator on cigarettes at 2% above inflation (RPI) for the duration of this Parliament. For this year that will mean a 27 pence increase on a pack of 20 cigarettes.

In addition to the tax escalator for all tobacco products there will be a one-off 4% increase for hand rolled tobacco, meaning handrolled tobacco will increase by 6% above RPI. The increase will mean an extra 67 pence on a 30g pouch of tobacco. This is welcome but future budgets need to commit to extending this for the duration of this Parliament.

The Government will also increase the minimum excise tax which raises the price of the cheapest cigarettes and discourages smokers switching to cheaper brands instead of quitting smoking altogether. This effectively means the lowest price for a pack of 20 cigarettes is £8.23, as of 11 March.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH, said: “Despite successive years of tax increases, the past failure to close the gap in tax on hand-rolled tobacco has kept smokers smoking who might otherwise quit. Thousands of smokers have switched to cheaper hand-rolled tobacco in recent years. We welcome the government’s efforts to address this. But it must go beyond a single year.”

See also:
ASH Press Release: ASH welcomes tax rises on No Smoking Day but more needed to achieve Government ambition of a Smokefree 2030

The Sun: Budget 2020 – Cost of cigarettes to go up to £12.73 a pack from 6pm tonight as Chancellor hikes tobacco tax

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