ASH Daily News for 3 April 2019


  • Britain cuts heart deaths by almost two thirds
  • British Museum still accepting tobacco sponsorship
  • Making Every Contact Count scheme piloted at Oxfordshire libraries
  • Smokers who switch to vaping save nearly £350 a year, according to UKVIA poll


  • Tobacco groups seek to overturn Australia’s vaping ban

Parliamentary Activity

  • House of Lords Question – Tobacco Harm Reduction



Britain cuts heart deaths by almost two thirds

Britain has cut the rate of heart deaths more quickly than almost any western country. Researchers found that Britain had achieved a 63% reduction in age-standardised cardiovascular disease death rates between 1989-91 and 2013-15. During this period, they fell from 2,740 per million people to 1,010 per million people.

Researchers found the improvements are down to fewer people smoking, public smoking bans, and better healthcare in terms of monitoring and surgery. Researchers said that efforts to improve co-operation between various parts of the health service also appeared to have helped. The research by Bournemouth University showed that out of 20 countries only Australia did better, with a 64% fall over the same period.

Source: The Times, 3 April 2019

Online Journal of Cardiovascular Research – Reduced Cardiovascular Disease Deaths in 21 Western Countries 1989-91 V 2013-154: What is the UK doing Right or What is the USA doing Wrong?

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British Museum still accepting tobacco sponsorship

The British Museum is still accepting tobacco company sponsorship, 28 years after it was banned by the Tate. Japan Tobacco International (JTI), who’s brands include Benson & Hedges, Camel and Silk Cut, provides funding to the museum’s Asia department.

The British Museum is the only major UK national museum of art or antiquities that accepts tobacco sponsorship. Spokespeople for the Tate, the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum all say that they have not received tobacco funding in the past ten years.

Another leading UK institution which accepts tobacco funds is the Royal Academy of Arts. JTI is among the Academy’s corporate sponsors (paying £45,000 a year), while the UK-based British American Tobacco is an associate corporate sponsor.

The Art Newspaper, 2 April 2019

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Making Every Contact Count scheme piloted at Oxfordshire libraries

As part of a Making Every Contact Count (MECC) scheme, some staff in Oxfordshire’s libraries have been trained to help turn conversations with customers into constructive lifestyle support. Sections in libraries dedicated to health have also been supplemented with leaflets promoting wellbeing and healthy choices.

Staff from a dozen libraries have been engaged in the MECC pilot, which is now being evaluated to see how it can be rolled out across Oxfordshire’s network of 43 libraries. The pilot has been funded by a grant of just under £10,000 from Health Education England Thames Valley. Staff training included an eLearning course and a workshop delivered in partnership with Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust.

Kate Austin, a health improvement practitioner in Oxfordshire County Council’s Public Health team, explained: “Library staff are often drawn into conversation with customers…staff have been given the skills to point them in the right direction to seek help…This might be through the council’s Live Well Oxfordshire website, a mental health charity, or a stop smoking group – or other services and health and wellbeing support networks.”

Source: The Herald, 2 April 2019

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Smokers who switch to vaping save nearly £350 a year, according to UKVIA survey

Smokers who have switched to vaping save on average £346.32 a year after quitting tobacco completely, a survey commissioned by the UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA), which has tobacco industry members, has found. The financial implications of buying tobacco is one of the main consideration for those who now vape instead, the survey found.

The poll of 1,790 people in Britain who are in the process of, or have made the swap from smoking to vaping, found more than half switched to save money. A total of 43% said they felt less stressed and over two thirds said they would “never” go back to smoking.

The research also found since saving money, 3 in 10 have saved up for a holiday and put money into a savings account. 80% of respondents would recommend switching to e-cigarettes for smokers thinking about quitting.

Source: The Independent, 2 April 2019

Editorial note: The UKVIA’s membership includes major tobacco companies Japan Tobacco International, British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco and Philip Morris International.

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Tobacco groups seek to overturn Australia’s vaping ban

Tobacco companies are seeking to overturn Australia’s ban on vaping. Philip Morris International (PMI) and British American Tobacco (BAT) have made submissions to an Australian parliamentary inquiry that is considering whether ecigarettes should be legalised.

E-cigarette companies have provided seed funding for a doctor-led charity campaigning to legalise e-cigarettes, and last week PMI sent its top marketing executive to Sydney to promote transitioning to its ‘reduced harm’ and e-cigarette products. Australia, Turkey and Mexico are the only three OECD countries that have not legalised e-cigarettes containing nicotine.

Source: Financial Times, 1 April 2019

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Parliamentary Activity

House of Lords Question – Tobacco Harm Reduction

Viscount Ridley
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the levels of smoking and incidence of lung cancer in Sweden as a result of steps taken by that government; and what plans Ministers have to visit that country as part of their forthcoming review of tobacco harm reduction.

Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health and Social Care
My Lords, the current smoking rate in Sweden is 13%, compared to England where the rate is 14.9% and, across the UK, 15.1%. There are no current plans to visit Sweden. Smoking is at the lowest level recorded in England but we are not complacent and remain committed to reducing the rate to 12% or less by 2022, as outlined in the tobacco control plan for England.

The debate continued in the House of Lords with contributions from Baroness Thornton, Lord Patel, Lord Rennard, Earl Cathcart and Lord Foulkes of Cumnock. The focus of debate was on the issue of snus, smokeless oral tobacco, which Viscount Ridley contended is a key driver of Sweden’s low smoking rate and low lung cancer rates. Replies to this included confirmation of a commitment to review the UK’s position on snus as well as challenges to the conception of snus as an appropriate harm reduction tool, given it is a tobacco product and causes mouth and throat cancer.

Source: Hansard, 2 April 2019

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