ASH Daily news for 20 May 2016



  • New tobacco laws come into effect with standardised packaging and larger health warnings

    From today (20 May), in the UK and France, tobacco companies must start producing and selling cigarettes with the branding on the packaging restricted to a standard size, font and colour.

    In addition, across the EU, in conformity with the new EU TPD, all new packs must contain a minimum of 20 cigarettes and have health warnings to cover 65% of the front and back.

    Menthol cigarettes will also now be phased out ahead of a total ban in 2020 along with promotional statements such as “this product is free of additives” or “is less harmful than other brands”.

    See also:
    – Smoking in the EU – revised tobacco directive in force, EU Business
    – New Cigarette Packaging Rules Come Into Force, Sky News
    – Cigarette Packets Standardised With Explicit Warnings Of Smoking Dangers Go On Sale Today, Huffington Post
    – Our tobacco laws just changed – here’s everything you need to know, Metro
    – E-cigarette laws have changed – here’s what you need to know, Metro
    – It’s about to become illegal to advertise e-cigarettes, Metro
    – Plain cigarette packaging has arrived, but will it reduce smoking?, The Guardian
    – North East Charity Celebrate The End Of Eye-Catching Cigarette Packets, Star Radio
    – Le paquet de cigarettes neutre fait son apparition en France, Le Monde

    Source: The Independent – 20 may 2016

  • ‘Crushing defeat’ for tobacco firms over new packaging

    Tobacco companies have had a legal challenge against the Government’s new plain packaging rules rejected.

    The day before new regulations come into force, a High Court judge in London declared that they are “valid and lawful in all respects”, and rejected a judicial review action brought against Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt by four of the world’s biggest firms.

    The head of cancer prevention at Northern Irish charity Cancer Focus NI, Gerry McElwee, said “it’s vital we stop the tobacco industry from recruiting yet another generation to use this deadly product”.

    Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of Action on Smoking and Health, said: “This landmark judgement is a crushing defeat for the tobacco industry and fully justifies the Government’s determination to go ahead with the introduction of standardised packaging. Millions of pounds have been spent on some of the country’s most expensive lawyers in the hope of blocking the policy. This disgraceful effort to privilege tobacco business interests over public health has rightly failed utterly.”

    See also:
    – UK court rejects Big Tobacco’s appeal against plain packaging, Reuters
    Tobacco laws: Bid to overturn packaging rules dismissed, BBC News
    – Cigarettes MUST be sold in plain packets as tobacco giants lose legal battle, Mirror
    – Tobacco Firms Lose Court Challenge Over Plain Packaging A Day Before It Comes Into Force, Huffington Post
    – ‘WAR ON SMOKERS’ Tobacco firms lose legal battle against HUGE health warnings, Express
    – Tobacco plain packaging rules to start tomorrow after court appeal by smoking industry giants is dismissed, Evening Standard
    – Big tobacco companies lose High Court battle over plain packaging, City AM
    – Opinion: The defeat of Big Tobacco on plain packaging is good for democracy, Telegraph
    – Tobacco giants lose High Court challenge over new plain packaging rules, Irish News
    – Tobacco giants in UK suffer defeat on plain-packaging, Irish Examiner
    – Tobacco giants lose bid to stop plain packets, Herald Scotland
    – U.K. Court Strikes Down Tobacco Industry Challenge to Plain Packaging, Wall Street Journal

    Source: News Letter – 19 May 2016

  • Tobacco firms vow to fight on against plain packaging following High Court defeat

    Two of the world’s biggest tobacco companies have vowed to continue to fight plain packaging in the UK, after the High Court  rejected a bid by the cigarette industry to prevent the introduction of the new law.

    Mr Justice Green dismissed a challenge by four industry giants: British American Tobacco (BAT), Japan Tobacco International (JTI), Imperial Tobacco, and Philip Morris International (PMI) against the introduction of plain packets of cigarettes.

    BAT and JTI immediately said they would seek to appeal the ruling. Both Imperial and PMI said they were “disappointed” with the ruling.

    See also:
    – Philip Morris International says won’t appeal U.K. plain packaging decision, The Fly
    – Plain packaging: Here are six reactions to today’s High Court ruling on cigarette packets in the UK, City AM

    Source: Telegraph – 19 May 2016

  • Peer tables motion to kill vaping rules

    A motion has been tabled in the House of Lords to annul the UK implementation of the EU’s new tobacco directive potentially triggering a debate and a vote.

    Motion SI 2015/507 was tabled by Lord Callanan, the former MEP and leader of the Conservatives in Europe. Callanan attempted to temper new regulations which included e-cigarettes, now enshrined as the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations of 2016 (PDF) while an MEP.

    The motion calls for the TRP regulations to be annulled “on the grounds that its restrictions … were devised before evidence had accumulated that vaping was enabling many people to quit smoking”.

    Source: The Register – 19 May 2016

  • Northern Ireland: Majority of workers to leave JTI Gallaher on Friday

    The majority of workers losing their jobs at the JTI tobacco factory in Ballymena, County Antrim, will leave the company on Friday.

    Around 500 employees are set to leave, with the remainder of the jobs finishing between now and May 2017.

    Source: BBC News – 19 May 2016

  • Nottingham: Cigarette factory closing

    Production at Imperial Brands’ factory at Nottingham, England, is due to end on Thursday after more than 40 years.

    The closure was announced on April 15, 2014, when the factory and associated distribution center employed 540 people and was producing 17 billion cigarettes a year against a capacity of 36 billion.

    Most of the 230 people who are still employed at the site will leave at the end of next week, but about 70 people will be retained until the end of next year to help with decommissioning.

    Source: Tobacco Reporter – 19 May 2016

  • EU: Health chief compares tobacco deaths with terrorism

    Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis strongly criticised the tobacco industry on Thursday (19 May), saying it kills people, while expressing his opposition to the renewal of an agreement to counter cigarette smuggling in the EU.

    Speaking to a group of reporters on the eve of the entry into force of the new Tobacco Products Directive today (20 May), Andriukaitis wondered “Why we don’t see headlines, why we are so blind, so silent” in Europe concerning tobacco, the single largest cause of avoidable deaths in the EU.

    The EU Health Commissioner then went on to draw unexpected parallels between deaths caused by the terrorist attacks in Brussels last March and those caused by tobacco.

    Source: Euractiv – 20 May 2016

  • Uganda bans smoking in public places

    New laws on smoking and tobacco sales have come into force in Uganda.

    People lighting up in bars, restaurants or hotels now face being fined $60 (£41) or jailed for up to two months. Smokers must be at least 50 metres away from public spaces, such as schools, hospitals and taxi ranks.

    The new laws also ban the sale of electronic cigarettes and flavoured tobacco for water pipes or shishas, which have become popular in clubs of the capital, Kampala.

    In further anti-smoking measures, the government has banned the sale of single cigarettes and tightened rules on labelling, advertising and selling tobacco to under-21s.

    Source: BBC News – 19 May 2016

  • Ireland: No plain packaging for cigarettes – yet

    Plain packaging on tobacco products is not coming into force today as planned.

    There has been a delay in pushing through the required legislation due in part to the length of time it took to form a government.

    Ireland’s Health Minister Simon Harris is now coming under pressure to live up to commitments to implement the law.

    See also:
    – Health minister under pressure to fulfil cigarette packaging commitments, Belfast Telegraph
    – Plain cigarette packets ‘must be state priority’, The Times (£)

    Source: Irish Examiner – 19 May 2016

  • North Korea: Kim Jong-un ‘quits smoking’ as country launches anti-smoking campaign

    North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has reportedly given up one of his favourite past-times: smoking – and launched a national campaign to get his loyal subjects to follow suit.

    The 33-year-old leader has often been seen smoking in images made available by North Korean state news agencies, but has not been pictured with a cigarette since March.

    State newspaper Rodong Shinmun announced on Monday that tobacco is no longer considered ‘an item of personal preference, refreshment or style’ in North Korea, Korea Times reports.

    North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party has now built facilities to help the population stop smoking, and are running a nation-wide campaign to promote giving up.

    ‘A non-smoking research facility in Pyongyang will expand its nationwide anti-smoking campaign through its branch facilities located in each region,’ the state-controlled Korean Central News Agency said Tuesday.

    Source: Mail Online – 19 May 2016

  • Jordanian physician honoured for tobacco control advocacy

    Feras Hawari, the director of the cancer control office and chief of pulmonary and critical care at the King Hussein Cancer Centre (KHCC), has been recognised by a leading international public health organisation for his work to reduce tobacco use in Jordan and the Middle East.

    The physician, who is also the director of respiratory therapy service, received the 2016 Judy Wilkenfeld Award for International Tobacco Control Excellence presented by Washington-based Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, during the organisation’s annual gala dinner on May 17.

    The president of Uruguay was also awarded at the same gala for the Champion Award.

    Presented each year to an international tobacco control advocate who has made major contributions to reducing tobacco use, the Wilkenfeld Award was established in honour of the late Judy Wilkenfeld, a leader in the adoption of the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), the influential international treaty that commits countries to take strong action to reduce tobacco use. Jordan became a party to the treaty in 2004.

    Source: Amman Daily News – 19 May 2016