ASH Daily News for 24 September 2019



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UK

  • ‘Half as many Britons’ vape as smoke

International

  • British American Tobacco issued with £900m Dutch tax bill
  • China plans controls on e-cigarettes amid health concern

 

UK

‘Half as many Britons’ vape as smoke

The number of people vaping in the UK has reached 3.6 million – about half the number of smokers – figures from Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) suggest. The data indicates most vapers are former smokers, with the main reason for using e-cigarettes being to give up tobacco. ASH has been monitoring trends in use since 2012.

It says the number of vapers in the UK has gone from 700,000 in 2012 to 3.6 million in 2019 – and of these:
• 54% have given up smoking
• 40% both smoke and vape
• 6% have never smoked
Ann McNeill, Professor of Tobacco Addiction at King’s College London, and lead author of the independent evidence reviews of e-cigarettes for Public Health England, said: “The ASH Smokefree GB survey is the longest running survey of e-cig use, providing the most up to date evidence available on how vaping is evolving in Britain. More than half of current vapers are ex-smokers compared with only a third in 2014. However, it’s important that all vapers stop smoking completely, as otherwise they are still exposing themselves to the serious risks of disease and disability caused by smoking. Vaping isn’t risk free, but it’s much less risky than smoking, which kills nearly 100,000 people a year in the UK.”

The figures come amid concerns about the health effects of e-cigarettes. The US Centers for Disease Control is investigating a mysterious outbreak of lung injuries linked to vaping, in which eight people have died and more than 500 have become ill. Most, but not all, have reported “cannabis vaping”, in which the vapour contains THC (the psychoactive component in cannabis).

The stance from health bodies in the UK has remained that vaping is approximately 95% less harmful than smoking.

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of ASH, said: “The outbreak of vaping illness in the US is obviously concerning, but it appears to be linked to the misuse of e-cigarettes for illicit drug delivery. Nothing like this has been seen in the UK to date, where a proper regulatory system is in place for nicotine containing e-cigarettes, which is not yet the case in the US. Vapers should not be scared back to smoking by the news of vaping illness in the US. Nor should smokers stick to smoking rather than switch to vaping. It is essential however, to only use legal vapes bought from reputable suppliers in the UK and not source illicit unregulated products over the internet.”

Source: BBC, 24 September 2019

ASH – Fact Sheet: The use of e-cigarettes among adults in Great Britain, 2019

See also
Sky News: Vaping in the UK continues to grow as fears about safety increase
Independent: Number of British people using e-cigarettes rises by 12.5 per cent, study suggests

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International

British American Tobacco issued with £900m Dutch tax bill

British American Tobacco (BAT) is being pursued by the Dutch authorities for £902m in unpaid taxes, as the maker of Rothmans, Camel and Lucky Strike cigarettes stands accused of avoiding tax on money channelled through the Netherlands. The claim relates to taxes the company is said to owe from between 2003 and 2016 and concerns internal fees paid by Dutch subsidiaries for loans provided by its UK holding company.

BAT is one of the UK’s largest companies and is valued at around £70bn on the London stock exchange. It made a profit before tax of £8.4bn last year and employs more than 60,000 people worldwide. It paid £2.1bn in taxes last year. The internal fees at the centre of the claim are said to have been artificially inflated in order to lower taxes due in the Netherlands. BAT disputes the claim.

De Onderzoeksredactie, a Dutch investigative journalism website that first reported the demand, said: “According to the Dutch authorities, these fees were not at arm’s length and in fact designed to avoid paying profit taxes in the Netherlands.” The website added that the claim was “by far the largest” tax case in the Netherlands against a multinational company to date and that similar discussions are currently underway with “several multinationals about amounts of more than €100m”.

Source: The Guardian, 20 September 2019

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China plans controls on e-cigarettes amid health concern

China plans to impose controls on e-liquids and additives for e-cigarettes amid concerns about US deaths and illnesses being blamed on vaping, a state news agency said Tuesday, 24th September.

The announcement follows deaths and illnesses thought to be linked to illicit e-liquids containing THC (the psychoactive component in cannabis) in the US. New measures due to be announced as early as next month will cover e-cigarette devices and packaging, the China News Service said, citing unidentified sources at China Tobacco, the state owned tobacco monopoly.

Source: ABC News, 24 September 2019

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