ASH Daily News for 29 August 2019


  • Over a billion fewer cigarettes smoked in England each year


  • Public health groups respond to news of PMI and Altria merger
  • USA: Juul CEO responds to news of lung illness cases



Over a billion fewer cigarettes smoked in England each year

The number of cigarettes smoked each year in England has fallen by more than a billion, according to analysis by Cancer Research UK. The charity says average monthly cigarette consumption fell by a quarter between 2011 and 2018 – equating to 118 million fewer cigarettes smoked each month. Figures from 2018 showed just 14.4% of people over 18 in England smoked cigarettes, down by about 5 percentage points from 2011.

Dr Sarah Jackson, from UCL’s Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group, who led the study, said: “It’s brilliant that over a billion fewer cigarettes are being sold and smoked in England every year. The decline in national cigarette consumption has been dramatic and exceeded the decline in smoking prevalence, which, over the same time period, was around 15%. This means that not only are fewer people smoking, but those who continue to smoke are smoking less.”

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH, said: “The significant decline in tobacco consumption is excellent news. However, there’s still a long way to go to realise the Government’s ultimatum to the tobacco industry to make smoked tobacco obsolete and England smoke-free by 2030. The Government has also said it is open to a ‘polluter pays’ approach for tobacco control, something the public health community has been demanding for years. The tobacco industry does the damage – it should pay to put it right.”

Source: BBC News, 28 August 2019

JAMA. Comparison of Trends in Self-reported Cigarette Consumption and Sales in England, 2011 to 2018. August 2019

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Public health groups respond to news of PMI and Altria merger

Public health groups have responded to news of PMI and Altria’s potential merger. The combined tobacco group with a market value of nearly $200 billion would create a patchwork family consisting of the three leading brands in cigarettes, e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products.

“We would strongly prefer these companies remain separate,” said Cliff Douglas, vice president of tobacco control at the American Cancer Society. If they merge, “they would have every incentive to use their strengthened position to ensure that e-cigarettes are designed and marketed in a way that constitutes no real threat to cigarettes.”

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH, said “England is a world leader in tobacco control with smoking rates declining so rapidly that our Government recently announced its ambition for the country to be smoke-free by 2030. The merger of PMI and Altria won’t make any difference to England, or to other countries with comprehensive anti-smoking strategies. My concern is that in the many places where tobacco consumption is still on the increase, particularly in low and middle income countries, this merger could make it more difficult for Governments to implement strict anti-smoking regulations like ours.”

Source: Bloomberg, 28 August 2019

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Juul CEO responds to news of lung illness cases

Juul CEO Kevin Burns has described recent lung illness cases reported by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) involving vaping as “worrisome”. Burns added that the CDC is leading the investigation and that they are in “close contact” with Juul.

“We’d like to get all the specifics that we can,” Burns said. “We want to make sure we have access to the information, so if there’s any issue that was driven, associated with us, that we can get to the root cause and understand that […] Most of the early reports have indicated [that the cases are] related to THC […] If there was any indication that there was an adverse health condition related to our product, I think we’d take very swift action associated with it.”

Source: CBS News, 28 August 2019

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