ASH Daily News for 18 February 2019



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UK

  • Study: Heavy smoking leads to colour sight loss
  • Opinion: Difficulties of quitting smoking

International

  • European Commission examines F1 and Big Tobacco deals
  • United Arab Emirates: Tobacco used in shisha to be taxed

Parliamentary Activity

  • Parliamentary questions

 

UK

Study: Heavy smoking leads to colour sight loss

New research has found that smoking more than 20 cigarettes a day can damaged your vision.

The study examined never smokers and heavy smokers (more than 20 cigarettes a day) and found that heavy smokers had a reduced ability to distinguish contrasts and colours compared to never smokers. Specifically, smokers red-green and blue-yellow colour vision showed significant difference to never smokers, suggesting that consuming neurotoxic substances found in cigarettes may lead to overall colour vision loss.

It is thought that since smoking harms the vascular system, damage to blood vessels and neurons in the retina caused by smoking could be responsible for the vision loss seen in smokers.

Source: EurekAlert, 18 February 2019

See study: Visual impairments in tobacco use disorder
See also: ASH factsheet on Smoking and Eye Disease

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Opinion: Difficulties of quitting smoking

Keith Richards says cigarettes are harder to quit than heroin

The rolling stones guitarist has said that quitting cigarettes is harder than quitting heroin. Stating that coming off heroin “is like hell, but a short hell” he argued that the persistence and constant availability of cigarettes makes it much harder to quit tobacco.

“Cigarettes are just always there, and you’ve always done it. I just pick them up and light them up without thinking about it. I’ve managed to cut it down by a substantial amount every day, and I’m still working on it. Because I realised I don’t need it. I realised it’s just a useless habit”.

See: The Independent, Keith Richards says heroin is easier to kick than cigarettes

14 February 2019

John Crace responds saying giving up cigarettes was a breeze compared to heroin

John Crace has responded to Keith Richard’s comments about the difficulties of quitting tobacco saying he found it much easier to quit than heroin. Going cold turkey was the easy part of giving up his narcotics addiction but staying off heroin has become a lifetime work, including learning how to interact with the world again. Compared to this, he argues that “giving up the cigarettes was a breeze” stating that one day he simply decided to stop, without experiencing any significant withdrawal symptoms or cravings.

See: The Guardian, Friday entry of And the award for most incompetent minister goes to…

15 February 2019

International

European Commission examines F1 and Big Tobacco deals

The European Commission is investigating the links between tobacco companies and Formula One racing teams after British American Tobacco and McLaren unlevied a global partnership last week. Philip Morris has previously caused concern after its Mission Winnow logo appeared on Ferrari team kit and cars.

Several European regulations govern the tobacco industry, including the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, which prohibits advertising and sponsorship of tobacco products and electronic cigarettes at sporting events. The relationship between F1 and tobacco companies has raised concerns among public health campaigners and academics prompting the European Commission to take a closer look at the initiatives.

Source: The Times, 18 February 2019

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United Arab Emirates: Tobacco used in shisha to be taxed

Tobacco products used in shisha will be taxed from the end of 2019 in Dubai. The UAE government already applies excise tax to cigarettes and has announced it will now extend this to both imported and domestically produced shisha products. All products will have a tax mark which will allow them to be electronically tracked from production until they reach the end consumer to ensure they meet all tax regulations.

Source: Gulf News, 17 February 2019

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Parliamentary Activity

Parliamentary questions

PQ1

Asked by Alex Cunningham of Stockton North

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether companies are prevented from (a) encouraging smokers to switch to vaping and (b) advertising price reductions for e-cigarettes.

Steve Brine Answered on: 15 February 2019

The United Kingdom Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 (TRPR) covers the regulation of e-cigarettes transposed from the European Union’s Tobacco Products Directive. Regulation 38 of the TRPR covers product presentation requirements and defines what can be written on a unit packet and any container pack of the electronic cigarette or refill container. Products may not for example suggest that a particular electronic cigarette or refill container is less harmful than other electronic cigarettes or refill containers; has vitalising, energising, healing, rejuvenating, natural or organic properties; or has other health or lifestyle benefits. These regulations also prohibit price reductions.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is responsible for monitoring the marketing and advertising of non-broadcast communications for electronic cigarettes. Section 22 of the ASA Committee of Advertising Practice Code concerns the regulation of marketing communications for electronic cigarettes. The code does not allow for medicinal claims but provides advice on how health claims can be made for marketing purposes that are not restricted by regulation.
The Government has made a commitment to review the TRPR by May 2021 to consider its regulatory impact. In addition, as announced in the Tobacco Control Plan the Government will review where the UK’s exit from the EU offers us opportunities to re-appraise current regulation to ensure this continues to protect the nation’s health.

PQ2 And PQ3

Asked by Adam Afriyie of Windsor

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Seventh Report of Session 2017-19 of the Science and Technology Committee on E-cigarettes, HC505, what steps he has taken to ensure that the regulatory system for e-cigarettes is risk-proportionate.

and

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress he has made on implementing the recommendations accepted by the Government in its response to the Science and Technology Committee’s Seventh Report of Session 2017-19 on E-cigarettes, HC505.

Steve Brine Answered on: 15 February 2019

The Government published its response to the Science and Technology Committee on the 10 December 2018. Good progress is being made on implementing the report’s recommendations: for example, Public Health England will publish its latest annual evidence review on e-cigarettes by the end of March 2019 and NHS England is developing guidance on e-cigarettes for mental health trusts. The Department will continue to monitor progress as part of its monitoring of the delivery of the Tobacco Control Plan for England.
The Government believes in proportionate regulation of e-cigarettes, recognising that they are not risk-free. Through the European Union Tobacco Products Directive 2014/40/EU (TPD), transposed into United Kingdom law by the UK Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 (TRPR), we have introduced measures to regulate e-cigarettes to reduce the risk of harm to children, protect against any risk of renormalisation of tobacco use, provide assurance on relative safety for users, and give businesses legal certainty. This has enabled the UK to implement appropriate standards for products whilst allowing smokers to move to e-cigarettes should they wish.
While the UK Government is a member of the EU it will continue to comply with the requirements of the EU’s TPD. The Government has made a commitment to review the TRPR by May 2021 to consider its regulatory impact. In addition, as announced in the Tobacco Control Plan the Government will review where the UK’s exit from the EU offers us opportunities to re-appraise current regulation to ensure this continues to protect the nation’s health.

Source: Hansard, HL Deb, 15 February 2019
Link: https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2019-02-07.218245.h