ASH Daily news for 13 May 2016



  • Canterbury: Councils launch smokefree parks initiative

    A year-long trial aimed at stopping people smoking in children’s play areas has been launched this week with new signs put up at five of the city’s parks.

    Canterbury City Council and Kent County Council have joined forces to trial smoke free zones to try to reduce smoking in places where children play.

    Canterbury City Council said: “Although the ‘smoke free’ status cannot be legally enforced, we hope the trial will encourage adults to change their behaviour and that they voluntarily decide not to smoke at the places where their children play.”

    Source: Canterbury Times 12 May 2016

  • Northern Ireland: Retailers must be on the tobacco sellers register

    Tobacco retailers are being reminded that they must be registered to sell tobacco products under new legislation which came into effect on 6th April.

    The Tobacco Retailers Act (Northern Ireland) 2014 requires tobacco retailers across Northern Ireland to join the register by 1st July 2016. After this date it will be illegal to sell tobacco products if not registered to do so.

    The new registration requirement is just one of a range of measures being introduced by the legislation to reduce smoking among children and young people. Research indicates that almost 1 in 4 adults in Northern Ireland smoke with two thirds of smokers lighting up before the age of 18.

    From 1st July 2016, enforcement officers will have power to issue fixed penalty notices for failing to register as a tobacco retailer and retailers may also face prosecution through the court system where it is considered appropriate to do so.

    Source: Londonderry Sentinel 12 May 2016

  • Switzerland: Smoking ban linked to decline in preterm births

    A Swiss study has suggested that regional smoking bans help make premature births less likely.

    Researchers analysed data for almost 450,000 babies born in Switzerland from 2007 to 2012 and found 5 percent were premature and another 27% arrived between 37 and 38 weeks gestation – which the research team calls “early term.”

    The introduction of smoking bans during the study period was associated with a 5% reduction in early-term births. Premature births also declined 3.5% with the debut of smoking bans, but this decline was too small to rule out the possibility that it was caused by other factors.

    However, regions with the most comprehensive smoking bans, that extended to places like restaurants, had almost a 7% reduction in preterm births, with this reaching roughly 12% in some areas.

    The full research can be accessed here.

    Source: Yahoo News 12 May 2016

  • India: Jammu and Kashmir: Adult spending on tobacco far outstrips national average

    A new survey commissioned by the Voluntary Health Association of India, has revealed that people in Jammu and Kashmir (J-K) are spending notably more than the national average on tobacco products. The survey also found that over 70% of adults within the state are exposed to tobacco smoke within their homes.

    While across India, smokers aged 15 and above spend Rs 399.20 a month on cigarettes and Rs 93.40 on bidis, those in J-K spend Rs 513.60 and Rs 134.20, respectively.

    According to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare data, nearly 37 per cent children in India take up smoking before the age of 10, and each day 5500 children begin tobacco use. With such high rates of smoking in J-K there are serious concerns about the health and social impact this is having on the state’s children.

    See also:
    The Times of India: J-K spends more than other states on tobacco products
    Journey Line: J&K spends more than other states on tobacco products

    Source: The Kashmir Times 12 May 2016

  • Parliamentary Questions

    PQ1: Electronic cigarette advertisement

    Anne Main Conservative, St Albans
    To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of restricting advertising on e-cigarettes, on people using tobacco products.

    Jane Ellison The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health
    The best thing a smoker can do for their health is to quit smoking. We know that there are now over a million people who have completely replaced smoking with e-cigarettes and that the evidence indicates that they are significantly less harmful to health than smoking.

    Whilst the Government recognises the potential benefits of e-cigarettes, the quality of products on the market remains variable. It is right therefore that proportionate regulation is introduced to introduce minimum standards for safety and quality of all e-cigarettes and e-liquids and that information is provided to consumers so that they can make informed choices. This is the aim of the regulatory framework set out in the revised Tobacco Products Directive.

    The Impact Assessment that accompanied the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 assessed the expected impact of the advertising provisions on demand for e-cigarettes to be insubstantial. There is already a very high awareness of e-cigarettes and their role in replacing tobacco use amongst the public. The restrictions on advertising in certain media do not prevent businesses communicating, factually, directly to individual smokers or ex-smokers about their products, either in physical stores or internet pages under their control.

    The restrictions do not prevent the publication of independently compiled reviews or discussion between users and potential users in internet forums. A balance is therefore struck between reducing exposure of children to imagery and marketing of these products and providing sufficient information to smokers wishing to use these products to support them in quit attempts.

    Source Hansard (Citation: HC Deb, 12 May 2016, cW)

    PQ2: Illicit Tobacco

    Lord Palmer Crossbench
    To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many times the cross-department ministerial group to tackle illicit trade in tobacco has met since it was announced in the budget of March 2015; and whether they will set out the membership of that group, the issues that were discussed at each meeting and the intended outcomes.

    Lord O’Neill of Gatley The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury

    The cross-department ministerial group to tackle illicit tobacco will meet for the first time later this month. This follows a number of productive meetings between officials in HMRC and other departments to identify the challenges and opportunities in the UK and internationally and determine a clear agenda for ministerial action. Further details on the group will be issued in due course.

    Source: Hansard (Citation: HL Deb, 12 May 2016, cW)