ASH Daily news for 29 April 2016



  • Analysis: Nicotine without smoke—putting electronic cigarettes in context

    Professor John Britton and co-authors of the RCP report summarise the findings of the report in the BMJ this week. The key messages are that:

    • Smoking is the biggest avoidable cause of death, disability, and health inequalities in the UK
    • The hazard to health arising from long term use of e-cigarettes is unlikely to exceed 5% of the harm from smoking tobacco
    • Experience in the UK suggests that e-cigarettes are more popular with smokers than other non-tobacco nicotine products and are being
    • used almost entirely by smokers who want to cut down or quit smoking
    • E-cigarettes represent an important means to reduce the harm to individuals and society from tobacco use
    • E-cigarettes should continue to be supported by government and promoted as a tobacco harm reduction strategy
    Source: BMJ – 27 April 2016

  • EU: Commission under fire for lack of transparency in tobacco lobby meetings

    The European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly has condemned the Commission’s policy towards tobacco industry lobbying as “puzzling.”

    Speaking in Brussels on Wednesday, the Irish official said the executive had “failed to make a convincing case” for refusing to crack down on the industry’s influence on EU decision making.

    The Strasbourg-based watchdog also castigated the tobacco sector, saying its products contributed to the deaths of some 700,000 Europeans every year.

    She said, “The biggest number of complaints I receive are about who has what influence on decision making at EU level. It is all about transparency.”

    O’Reilly, who was addressing a conference she organised on ‘improving transparency in tobacco lobbying’, said the Commission’s refusal to take specific measures to tackle tobacco industry lobbying influence reflects a worrying complacency and lack of vigilance regarding the large-scale lobbying efforts of this sector.

    Source: Parliament Magazine – 28 April 2016

  • EU: Tobacco industry calls for transparency

    The Confederation of European Community Cigarette Manufacturers (CECCM) yesterday called for the EU’s transparency register to be made mandatory, and applied equally to all entities that come under its scope.

    The CECCM describes itself as a non-commercial association that represents the common views on regulations of British American Tobacco, JT International and the Imperial Tobacco Group [Imperial Brands PLC].

    “We are calling for a clear set of rules that should apply equally to any organisation lobbying in Brussels,” said Ronan Barry, the CECCM’s chair, during an event hosted in Brussels by the European Ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly: Improving Transparency in Tobacco Lobbying.

    Barry spoke from the audience because CECCM’s requests to participate in the panel debate were refused by the Ombudsman. There was no industry representative on the panel.

    See also:
    Tobacco Tactics: Confederation of European Community Cigarette Manufacturers

    Source: Tobacco Reporter – 28 April 2016

  • US: Massachusetts Senate approves under-21 ban on tobacco sales

    The Massachusetts Senate voted overwhelmingly Thursday to raise the minimum age for purchasing cigarettes and other tobacco products across the state, which could make it the second to raise its threshold to 21 years old.

    The higher age is already in effect in Boston and more than 100 other cities and towns, covering about half the state’s population.

    The bill, which moves to the House after being approved on a 32-2 vote, also sets new regulations for electronic cigarettes including a ban on vaping in places where smoking is otherwise prohibited. It would also ban the sale of tobacco in pharmacies and other health care facilities.

    Stores caught selling tobacco to people under 21 would face fines ranging from $100 to $300.

    An amendment added by senators without debate would also make it illegal for anyone under age 18 to smoke or possess tobacco products, and require police to notify the parents of children caught with tobacco. But there would be no other penalties and the infraction would not appear on any criminal record.

    Source: Medical Xpress – 28 April 2016

  • India: Tobacco majors win interim relief over pack warnings

    The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court has granted immediate relief to tobacco giant ITC Ltd against seizure of cigarettes manufactured prior to April 1, 2016, but didn’t direct the state to return goods seized so far.

    The HC observed a new legal requirement to cover 85% of cigarette packaging with a warning, would apply to products made from April 1, the date of its enforcement, not before. The existing rule so far was to cover 40% of the pack with a warning on one side.

    The tobacco industry has geared up for a fight across India, in 23 courts, against the imposition of the new rule which it says leaves barely any space for its own branding, in violation of its constitutional rights.The Supreme Court has received a number of petitions, including one filed by Karnataka Beedi Manufacturers Association for hearing on May 3, on the issue.

    Source: Times of India – 29 April 2016

  • Malaysia: No proof excise duty hike caused increase in illicit smokes, MCTC says

    The Malaysian Council for Tobacco Control (MCTC) has criticised BAT Malaysia for claiming illegal cigarette trades increased in Malaysia due to the 40% rise in excise duty.

    MCTC president Dr Molly Cheah said there were no studies to prove BAT’s claim and such problems should be handled properly by the relevant enforcement agencies.

    Earlier this week, BAT’s managing director Stefano Clini had been reported as saying that high taxes on cigarettes has led to drastic increase of the illegal cigarette trade.

    Source: Malay Mail Online – 29 April 2016

  • Pictures: BAT AGM protest

    As in previous years, several dozen young people gathered outside BAT’s AGM in central London for a noise making event. They later took part in a conference where they had the opportunity to share their experiences of campaigning against tobacco. Groups from Sweden and Slovenia on an exchange programme organised by Cut Films were present at the event.

    Source: Flickr – 28 April 2016