ASH Daily news for 23 May 2016



  • Axa stubs out €1.7bn tobacco industry investment

    Axa, the world’s largest insurer, will stop investing in the tobacco industry and sell investments worth more than €1.7bn (£1.3bn).

    It said investing in the sector made no sense given that smoking killed some six million people a year.

    The move by Axa is an attempt to support government efforts to reduce the number of people who smoke.

    Source: BBC News – 23 May 2016

  • Wales: First minister dismisses e-cigarettes ban plan in health bill

    Plans to ban e-cigarettes in some public places will be dropped from Wales’ public health bill, the first minister has said.

    It failed to pass on the last day of the previous assembly after opposition from Plaid Cymru.

    Carwyn Jones told BBC Radio Wales’ Sunday Supplement the bill would be tabled again without the e-cigarettes ban.

    [includes video]

    Source: BBC News – 22 May 2016

  • Big tobacco set to sue Britain

    Tobacco companies have said they will sue the British government for billions of pounds in compensation after plain packaging of cigarettes took effect last week.

    Four of the world’s biggest cigarette makers tried to derail the proposals on the grounds that they were unlawful, but had their claims rejected in the High Court. Now at least two of them plan to take the government to court for loss of earnings and confiscation of their property without compensation.

    Lawyers say the claims could run into many billions and last for years.

    The claims will hinge on the value of the tobacco companies’ property — including brand names such as Pall Mall, Camel and Benson & Hedges. The French investment bank BNP Paribas estimates that the value of assets owned by cigarette companies in Britain is as much as £11bn.

    “We believe investors should assume the appeal will fail,” wrote analysts at Citi last week.

    British American Tobacco and Japan Tobacco International have both said they will appeal against the plain packaging decision. Imperial Tobacco is still considering its position. Philip Morris, the maker of Marlboro, is the only company to have said it will back down.

    [subscription required]

    Source: Sunday Times – 22 May 2016

  • How big tobacco lost its final fight for hearts, lungs and minds

    As David Anderson QC, one of “big tobacco’s” senior lawyers, put it, the battle against the introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes had become the industry’s equivalent of Custer’s Last Stand, its “last battlefield”.

    Jamie Doward analyses the outcome of the tobacco industry’s legal challenge and reviews some of the highlights of the court case.

    Source: The Observer – 22 May 2016

  • As cigarette packs all become the same, leading doctor reveals why standard packaging does save lives

    Dr Nick Hopkinson of the British Lung Foundation says evidence from Australia – where plain packaging has been introduced- shows the measure works.

    Source: Mail on Sunday – 22 May 2016

  • Northern Ireland: Ian Paisley calls for apology from Jim Wells over cigarette packaging remark

    The North Antrim DUP MP Ian Paisley has asked his party colleague, Jim Wells, for an apology on Twitter.

    Mr Wells posted that he was pleased the introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes was being introduced in Northern Ireland as he had approved it while health minister.

    Mr Paisley posted that 980 workers at the JTI tobacco factory had lost their jobs as a result of the policy.
    In a twitter post, he called on Mr Wells to apologise.

    Source: BBC News – 20 May 2016

  • New guidance for independent retailers on tobacco legislation changes

    The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has produced a comprehensive new guide for independent retailers on the changes to tobacco retailing due to the revised EU Tobacco Products Directive and plain packaging legislation coming into force.

    Source: Asian Trader – 20 May 2016

  • Viewpoint: Are e-cigarettes really a menace?

    E-cigarettes, devices that give you a nicotine-hit by heating up a liquid which you then inhale, have become all the rage. But is the concern about them justified, asks Michael Mosley, in a BBC Horizon programme.

    See also:
    Watch: E-Cigarettes: Miracle or Menace?, BBC iPlayer
    – To vape or not to vape: are E-cigarettes a miracle or a menace?, Radio Times
    – Are e-cigarettes a miracle or menace asks TV presenter and scientist Michael Mosley, Mirror
    – Michael Mosley: ‘No male in my family has made it beyond 72’, The Guardian

    Source: BBC News – 20 May 2016

  • Australia: Victoria to treat e-cigarettes the same as tobacco products

    Under-18s will be banned from buying e-cigarettes as part of new Victorian legislation that will treat the electronic smoking devices the same as tobacco products.

    All existing bans on the sale, use and promotion of tobacco products will also apply to e-cigarettes in Victoria, under changes to be introduced into parliament next week.

    Smoking e-cigarettes in schools or cars carrying children will be outlawed.

    Source: The Guardian – 21 May 2016

  • Walt Disney under pressure to stop Vice Media making tobacco ads

    Anti-tobacco campaigners are pressuring Walt Disney to use its $400m (£274m) stake in Vice Media to stop the youth-focused media company from making ads for the tobacco industry.

    It was revealed by the Financial Times in March that Vice’s London-based marketing agency Edition Worldwide was creating ads for Marlboro maker Phillip Morris.

    The ads do not carry Vice branding, will not run on its properties and will not be used in the UK or US where there are strict rules against advertising cigarettes.

    In a letter addressed to Disney’s corporate citizenship manager and copied to chief executive Bob Iger, the US-based Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids says the company should stop Vice from using its expertise to help tobacco companies target young people.

    It also asks Disney, famous for its cartoons but now also the owner of blockbuster franchises Marvel and Star Wars, to provide a detailed description of the tobacco-related work Vice has done so that public health organisations can “make an assessment of the damage caused by Vice’s activities”.

    Although the letter was sent on 15 April, and asked for a response by 9 May, the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids says it has received no communication from Disney.

    Source: The Guardian – 20 May 2016

  • Ireland: Minister pledges action on plain packaging

    The health minister said plain packaging for tobacco products would be introduced in the near future as he signed a law banning menthol cigarettes and regulating e-cigarettes.

    Simon Harris signed the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive, which includes a ban on all flavoured tobacco, into Irish law. The directive also includes new rules on health warnings on packaging and bans the use of phrases such as “natural” or “organic” in advertising.

    [subscription required]

    Source: The Times – 21 May 2016

  • US: Faith leaders gather at Arkansas Capitol to promote ‘No Menthol Sunday’

    Local pastors and faith leaders want members of their congregations to say no to mentholated tobacco products.

    They gathered last week at the Arkansas State Capitol to promote “No Menthol Sunday” this Sunday, May 22.

    Those leaders say the tobacco industry targets the African American community and Arkansas’s youth when marketing mentholated tobacco products.

    Source: KATV – 20 May 2016