ASH Daily News for 15 August 2019



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UK

  • De La Rue criticised for working with tobacco-linked Atos on track and trace

International

  • Montenegro bans indoor smoking in public places
  • Vaping companies sue to delay US review of e-cigarettes
  • US study reveals harms of smoking hookah waterpipes

UK

De La Rue criticised for working with tobacco-linked Atos on track and trace

De La Rue, the company selected by the UK Government to oversee the implementation of the EU’s new tracking system for tobacco products – ‘track and trace’ – has faced criticism for its decision to outsource to the IT giant Atos. The French company’s history of close ties with the tobacco industry through Atos Worldline makes it a problematic partner in the effort to track tobacco products.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has clearly underlined that any system for tracking and tracing tobacco must be completely independent from the tobacco industry—not least because the major cigarette manufacturers have repeatedly been found complicit in the smuggling of their own products.

While the tobacco industry has publicly supported initiatives to crack down on illicit tobacco trade, in private it has endeavoured to subvert such schemes for its own ends. Atos worked with the tobacco industry to help them develop and market their own tracking system, Codentify, which they have attempted to market to governments as a suitable track and trace scheme over the WHO’s strenuous objections.

Source: EU Today, 13 August 2019

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International

Montenegro bans indoor smoking in public places

Smoking in indoor public places was banned on Wednesday (14 August) in Montenegro, a major challenge in the tobacco-mad Balkan country with some of the highest smoking rates in Europe. More than one third of adults among the population of just 650,000 are regular smokers, according to the public health institute.

Under the new law, smoking is prohibited in all enclosed public places, including restaurants and cafes where smoking was previously common. The exception is casinos, where smoking will still be allowed. Businesses can also set up separate rooms solely for smoking.

Fines for violating the law range from 500 euros ($560) to 20,000 euros ($22,370) under legislation that also regulates cigarette sales and health warnings on packaging.

Source: Medical Xpress, 14 August 2019

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Vaping companies sue to delay US review of e-cigarettes

A vaping industry group, the Vapor Technology Association (VTA), sued the US government on Wednesday (14 August) to delay an upcoming Food and Drug Administration (FDA) review of thousands of e-cigarettes on the market. The vaping group argued that the latest deadline of May 2020 to submit products for review could wipe out many of the smaller vaping companies. San Francisco-based Juul is among 800 members of the VTA.

The FDA was given powers to regulate e-cigarettes in 2016 but has repeatedly pushed back the timeline, at one point until 2022, to begin reviewing the numerous vaping products on the market. Frustrated by the delays, tobacco control groups including the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids sued the FDA to speed up the process. In June, a federal judge sided with the groups and set a deadline of May 2020 for all companies to submit their products for federal review. The FDA has until next month to appeal the decision.

Vaping executives argue that most companies will not be able to afford to conduct large, expensive studies needed for FDA review. Only products that meet FDA standards will be permitted to be sold.

Source: Daily Mail, 14 August 2019

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US study reveals harms of smoking hookah waterpipes

Researchers at the University of California Irvine have suggested that smoking trendy hookah waterpipes could be more dangerous than other forms of smoking, finding that one draw of the pipe has the equivalent amount of hazardous substances as an entire cigarette. Smokers of the sweet-smelling pipes also get a higher dose of chemicals because smoking sessions in bars and lounges can last for hours.

Hookah is an ancient form of smoking in which charcoal-heated tobacco or non-tobacco based shisha smoke is passed through water before inhalation. Contrary to popular belief, the water bowl doesn’t filter the smoke and make it ‘healthier’, the researchers said. They discovered the water actually creates ultrafine particles which are able to reach the deepest parts of the lungs. The study is the first to report on the size of particles produced from hookah smoke.

Lead author Professor Veronique Perraud said: “One of the big myths about hookah usage is that the water in the bowl actually filters out the toxic chemicals, providing a shield for the smoker. In the study, we show that this is not the case for most of the gases. [We found] the equivalent of the emission of one or more cigarettes for a single puff of hookah smoke.”

Source: Daily Mail, 14 August 2019

Aerosol Science and Technology: Chemical characterization of nanoparticles and volatiles present in mainstream hookah smoke. June 2019

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