ASH Daily News for 18 July 2019



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UK

  • Syntax and the “sin tax”: the power of narratives for health
  • The sniffer dog hunting for illicit tobacco in Portsmouth

International

  • Juul escalates fight against e-cigarette bans
  • USA: Study linking vaping to heart attacks criticised by academic

Parliamentary Activity

  • Parliamentary Questions

UK

Syntax and the “sin tax”: the power of narratives for health

This article in the BMJ examines the political appeal of moralistic and derogatory language (“sin taxes”, “nanny state”) and how it implicitly criticises government interference in “personal choice” and “private” domains, as well as playing to the public’s ideals of freedom, autonomy, and choice, which are assumed to lie in consumption and not health. The article goes on to question how the public health community can rebalance and prioritise the right to health, over the right to consume, in the public mindset.

Source: The BMJ, 17 July 2019

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The sniffer dog hunting for illicit tobacco in Portsmouth

Portsmouth City Council officers will be searching for bootleg, smuggled or counterfeit products with the help of Yoyo the sniffer dog. Around 27% of the city’s smokers buy illicit tobacco.

Councillor Matthew Winnington is cabinet member for health at the council. He said: “’All tobacco is harmful but illegal tobacco makes it easier for people to start smoking, particularly young people, and they tend to smoke more due to the cheaper prices.”

Source: The News (Portsmouth), 17 July 2019

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International

Juul escalates fight against e-cigarette bans

San Francisco based vaping company Juul is looking to halt a ban on e-cigarettes that started in its hometown and is spreading to nearby cities.

In nearby Livermore, officials modelled their e-cigarette legislation on San Francisco’s, and passed its version less than a month later. Both cities’ laws prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes until federal regulators have reviewed the products to ensure their safety. Livermore’s law is scheduled to take effect on the 8th of August, although it will not be enforced until January 2020. The East Bay city of Richmond plans to consider a similar e-cigarette ban next week.

Juul is backing a referendum to stop these laws, and is also behind a ballot initiative in San Francisco that, if passed by voters in November, would overturn an order that city officials unanimously approved in June prohibiting the sale of e-cigarettes. The company, the nation’s largest e-cigarette maker, has thus far funnelled $1.5 million into the closely watched San Francisco effort.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, 17 July 2019

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USA: Study linking vaping to heart attacks criticised by academic

Brad Rodu, Professor at the University of Louisville, has asked the Journal of the American Heart Association to retract a study published last month by University of California, San Francisco professor Stanton Glantz. The study claimed adult vaping was “associated with” a doubled risk of heart attack, but Glantz went further in a blog post, saying the study represented “more evidence that e-cigs cause heart attacks.”

However, when Rodu obtained the federal data, he found the majority of the 38 patients in the study who had heart attacks had them before they started vaping — by an average of 10 years earlier. In his letter to the editors, Rodu called Glantz’s findings “false and invalid”, and labelled their analysis as “an indefensible breach of any reasonable standard for research on association or causation”, urging them to retract the article.

Glantz insists vaping leads to heart attacks even if he first called his secondary analysis that included the timing of heart attacks “not statistically significant.” He now says it is simply “underpowered” due to the small number of cases. It was his second study in 10 months to focus on heart attacks and vaping.

Source: USA TODAY, 17 July 2019

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Parliamentary Activity

Parliamentary Questions

Asked by Carolyn Harris, Swansea East
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will ensure that economic operators who are unable to comply with the Tobacco Products (Traceability and Security Features) Regulations 2019 due to software issues will not be penalised.

Answered by Robert Jenrick, the Exchequer Secretary
The Tobacco Products (Traceability and Security Features) Regulations 2019 require the movement of tobacco products to be recorded by economic operators through the supply chain. Tobacco manufacturers are required to provide economic operators with the software necessary to record movements. If an economic operator is unable to comply with the Regulations due to software issues, HM Revenue & Customs will consider what action to take on a case-by-case basis according to the facts of the particular case.

Source: HC Deb, 17 July 2019, cW
Link: https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2019-07-09.275233.h