ASH Daily news for 16 January 2015



  • Scotland: NHS Lothian bans smoking inside cars in hospital grounds
  • Enfield launches new stop smoking campaign
  • Coventry: ‘Our overall vision is of a smoke-free future for the city’, letter
  • Letter: Plain packs delay
  • IARC: Most types of cancer not due to “bad luck”
  • Comment: Facts point to the success of plain packaging
  • Italy: Film directors fired up over smoking ban
  • Darrell Winfield, the real Marlboro Man, dies at 85
  • Parliamentary business

    Scotland: NHS Lothian bans smoking inside cars in hospital grounds

    Smokers will be banned from lighting up in their own vehicles within NHS Lothian car parks from next month.

    As part of a renewed crackdown on smoking in hospital grounds, visitors in their own cars will be asked to stub it out.

    All health boards in Scotland have been asked by the Scottish Government to make hospitals and their grounds completely smoke-free by the end of March.

    But NHS Lothian is among the first to confirm that a total ban will extend to private vehicles in hospital car parks.

    Source: Edinburgh News – 15 January 2015

    Enfield launches new stop smoking campaign

    A new campaign has been launched by Enfield Council that urges residents ‘Don’t go Broke for a Smoke’. The campaign is aimed at getting people to think about how much they spend on their habit in an effort to reduce how much people smoke.

    The council says that 20 cigarettes can cost £9.00 a pack, working out at 45p per cigarette. Smoking just half a pack a day results in a cost of £31.50 a week, or £1,638 a year.

    Source: Net-Lettings – 15 January 2015

    Coventry: ‘Our overall vision is of a smoke-free future for the city’, letter

    Councillor Joe Clifford, Chair of Coventry’s Smokefree Alliance, responds to a letter complaining against a smoking ban on the grounds of the local hospital and explains the city’s vision.

    Source: Coventry Telegraph – 15 January 2015

    Letter: Plain packs delay

    Sheila Duffy, Chief Executive of ASH Scotland, explains that given that MPs voted overwhelmingly in support of legislation enabling the introduction of plain, standardised packaging for tobacco products, it is no surprise that the tobacco industry and its supporters are desperately hoping that time will run out for regulations to be voted on before the May election.

    Source: The Scotsman – 15 January 2015

    IARC: Most types of cancer not due to “bad luck”

    The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the World Health Organization’s specialized cancer agency, strongly disagrees with the conclusion of a scientific report[1] on the causes of human cancer published in the journal Science on 2 January 2015 by Dr Cristian Tomasetti and Dr Bert Vogelstein.

    The study, which has received widespread media coverage, compares the number of lifetime stem cell divisions across a wide range of tissues with lifetime cancer risk and suggests that random mutations (or “bad luck”) are “the major contributors to cancer overall, often more important than either hereditary or external environmental factors.”

    For many cancers, the authors argue for a greater focus on the early detection of the disease rather than on prevention of its occurrence. If misinterpreted, this position could have serious negative consequences from both cancer research and public health perspectives.

    IARC experts point to a serious contradiction with the extensive body of epidemiological evidence as well as a number of methodological limitations and biases in the analysis presented in the report.

    Source: Medical News Today – 15 January 2015

    Comment: Facts point to the success of plain packaging

    Prof Nicholas Talley, president of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, ponders why a company’s ability to market a deadly product is more important than a human life.

    Source: Daily Telegraph (AU) – 16 January 2015

    Italy: Film directors fired up over smoking ban

    Film directors have protested against government plans to cut down on the use of one of Italian cinema’s most enduring props — the cigarette.

    The outcry follows a statement by Beatrice Lorenzin, the health minister, that she would like to see the “regulation” of smoking in Italian films and television series.

    In an open letter to Ms Lorenzin, the directors, including the Oscar winner Paolo Sorrentino, described their “stupor” at the prospect of a “ridiculous” ban that would hamper their attempt to “recount the lives of people”.

    [subscription required]

    Source: The Times – 16 January 2015

    Darrell Winfield, the real Marlboro Man, dies at 85

    Best known as the rugged cowboy who starred in the Marlboro Man cigarette advertisements, Darrell Winfield has died at home in Wyoming aged 85.

    His cause of death was not listed in his obituary on a Fremont County, Wyoming, news website.

    See also:
    – Former ‘Marlboro Man’ star dies, Rakya Post
    – Darren Winfield, Marlboro Man – obituary, Telegraph
    – Former ‘Marlboro Man’ star dies at 85, Free Malaysia Today

    Source: CNN – 15 January 2015

    Parliamentary business

    Extracts of the House of Lords’ discussion of smoking as part of a debate on the London Health Commission.

    Lord Hunt of Kings Heath (Lab):

    […] Column GC299

    It is coincidental, though I would like to think that we planned it together, that the Labour party today announced the public health programme that we wish to take forward post-election. It is very much dual-pronged in the sense that we see a really positive role in, rather than finger-wagging at adults, actually helping them to be empowered with information to make healthier choices and supported to get active, along with all the other things needed to improve their health. However, in the case of children, we wish to see statutory action and we particularly emphasise maximum limits to be set on levels of fat, salt and sugar in food marketed substantially to children. That would have a very big impact on obesity issues, alongside many more programmes around lifestyle in schools, particularly in physical activity.

    On smoking, we wish to reduce smoking prevalence to 10% by 2025. We will have a goal that children born in 2015 will become the first smoke-free generation in hundreds of years. I was very proud to move the amendment to ban smoking in cars with children and I received support from almost every noble Lord present in the debate today. It was very good to see. I was struck by the overwhelming public support for that measure: it shows that the public will support these kinds of measures. We are also keen to introduce a levy on tobacco companies to be used to ensure that they make a greater contribution to the cost of tackling tobacco-related harm.


    The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con):

    […] Column GC301

    The issue of standardised packaging for tobacco has been raised by almost every Peer who has spoken. I want to be clear that the Government have not made a final decision on whether to introduce legislation for standardised packaging. We held a final, short consultation that closed in August and the results are informing decision-making. It is important that the Government have time to carefully consider all issues relevant to the policy. I assure noble Lords that a decision will be made in due course. However, in saying that, I reassure your Lordships that we in the Department of Health are, as I speak, very actively working towards a decision. The draft regulations for standardised packaging were notified to the European Commission under the technical standards directive on 29 August. We have received detailed opinions from 11 member states, which extends the “standstill” period to six months. This will expire on 2 March 2015 and until then we are unable to make regulations, although I hear what the noble Baroness, Lady Finlay, says about laying regulations.



    Source: Hansard – 15 January 2015, Column GC298