ASH Daily News for 14 June 2018



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UK

  • Tyne and Wear: South Tyneside’s NHS staff urged to lead the way by quitting smoking
  • Lancashire: Cash and illegal tobacco seized in raids on shop and house

International

  • Tobacco industry peruse control over anti-smuggling measures

Parliamentary Activity

  • Parliamentary Question

UK

Tyne and Wear: South Tyneside’s NHS staff urged to lead the way by quitting smoking

Staff at South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust are being encouraged to give up once and for all as part of a bid to become a completely smokefree organisation.

According to figures from Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), the estimated annual cost of smoking to the NHS in South Tyneside is about £7.1 million a year.

The Trust is therefore offering a support programme for NHS staff, as well as their friends and family, recognising the vital role loved ones can play. They will have access to a full range of products, including patches and gum, and medications such as Champix and Zyban.

South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust medical director Dr Shaz Wahid said “We are working closely with our local partners to get us to the point of becoming fully smokefree and, as part of this, we want to give our staff and patients all the tools and support we can to help them to stop smoking.

Source: The Shields Gazette, 14 June 2018

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Lancashire: Cash and illegal tobacco seized in raids on shop and house

More than £100,000 of unaccounted-for cash plus a stash of illegal tobacco has been seized in a joint Trading Standards and police raid. Lancashire County Council Trading Standards and Lancashire Police seized the tobacco from a shop in Nelson town centre, and the £100,000 cash in bags from a house in the town. Officers served three warrants, all in the Nelson area, after tracking a supply ring operating in the town. More than 680 tobacco packs, with a retail value of around almost £4,000 were seized from a locked hiding place.

Three men and a woman are currently under investigation, and checks into the supply chain are continuing. The traders involved face possible prosecution by Trading Standards in relation to offences under the Trade Marks Act 1994 and The Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016.

Source: Burnley Express, 13 June 2018

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International

Tobacco industry peruse control over anti-smuggling measures

A detailed study from the Tobacco Control Research Group at the University of Bath, using a range of sources including internal documents and whistleblower testimony, claims the tobacco industry is now going to elaborate lengths to control the global “track and trace” system that the United Nations has said must be put in place to counter smuggling.

Tobacco companies complain about the smuggling of cheap illegally-made copies of their brands, but two-thirds of the illicit tobacco market is made up of genuine product, says the study published in the journal Tobacco Control. “At best, evidence indicates that tobacco companies are failing to control their supply chain, over-producing in some markets (eg Ukraine) and oversupplying others (eg Belgium) in the knowledge their products will end up on the illicit market,” says the paper.

Professor Anna Gilmore, lead author of the paper in the journal Tobacco Control, said: “This has to be one of the tobacco industry’s greatest scams: not only is it still involved in tobacco smuggling, but big tobacco is positioning itself to control the very system governments around the world have designed to stop companies from smuggling. The industry’s elaborate and underhand effort involves front groups, third parties, fake news and payments to the regulatory authorities meant to hold them to account.”

Source: The Guardian, 14 June 2018

See also: BMJ: Tobacco industries elaborate attempts to control a global track and trace system and fundamentally undermine the Illicit Trade Protocol

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Parliamentary Activity

Parliamentary Question

Rt Hon George Howarth, MP Labour, Knowsley

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress his Department has made with Public Health England Tobacco Implementation Board on implementing the recommendations of the Independent Cancer Taskforce; on what date his Department has held meetings with that Board; and who attended those meetings.

Steve Brine, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health and Primary Care

The ‘Tobacco Control Plan for England: Towards a smoke-free generation’, published in July 2017, takes into account the recommendations of the Independent Cancer Taskforce, and focuses on reducing smoking prevalence within priority groups such as people with mental health conditions, people in routine and manual occupations and pregnant women, tackling the associated health inequalities.

A special meeting of the Public Health England Tobacco Control Implementation Board was held on 20 December 2017 to discuss the Plan. I chaired the meeting which was attended by representatives of the Department, Public Health England and key stakeholders including Cancer Research UK, the Royal College of Physicians, British Medical Association, British Thoracic Society, Action on Smoking and Health and the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies.

Source: Hansard HC, 13 June 2018

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