ASH Daily News for 3 January 2020


  • Menthol cigarettes to be banned May 2020


  • US: Trump administration restricts some e-cigarette flavors
  • US: Vaping industry offers academic scholarships to high school kids
  • Greece: The tobacco farmers chasing a sweeter crop

Link of the Week

  • New resource: Local Alliances Roadmap



Menthol cigarettes to be banned May 2020

Manufactured menthol cigarettes and menthol hand-rolled tobacco will be banned under new laws due to come into effect in May 2020.

The ban will also see the production of click dual cigarettes that change flavour from normal to menthol when squeezed or clicked, stopped. The measures are part of a four year phasing-out period stemming from the EU Tobacco Product Directive, which entered into force in May 2014 and became applicable in EU countries in May 2016.

Chief executive of ASH, Deborah Arnott, said the new rules will mean that “no person may produce or supply cigarettes or hand rolling tobacco with:
(a) a filter, paper, package, capsule or other component containing flavourings;
(b) a filter, paper or capsule containing tobacco or nicotine; or
(c) a technical feature allowing the consumer to modify the smell, taste, or smoke intensity of the product.”

The gradual phasing out of menthol tobacco products was started to prevent young people becoming addicted to smoking. Despite the measures stemming from EU law, Deborah Arnott noted that they were unlikely to be affected by Brexit: “The regulations will be reviewed this year but given that the UK goes further than the EU requires on tobacco regulations e.g. we ban all advertising, and point of sale displays, and require plain packaging, it is unlikely that leaving the EU will lead to a weakening of our tobacco regulations.”

Source: The Sun, 3 January 2020

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US: Trump administration restricts some e-cigarette flavours

The Trump administration on Thursday 2nd January announced a ban on some popular e-cigarette flavours, including fruit flavours, allowing only menthol and tobacco to remain on the market. The flavour ban applies to cartridge-based e-cigarettes, which typically use disposable pods filled with liquid nicotine. It does not apply to most e-cigarette liquids that are purchased separately and used in so-called open tank e-cigarettes.

President Donald Trump’s administration in September 2019 proposed a sweeping ban on all e-cigarette and vaping flavours except tobacco. However, Trump later expressed concerns that enacting the ban could lead to an underground market for illegal vaping products and potential job losses.

Source: Reuters, 2 January 2020

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US: Vaping industry offers academic scholarships to high school kids

As makers of e-cigarettes argue against accusations that they are marketing to US youth, others in the vaping industry are offering academic scholarships for high school students, a new study finds. Searching online, researchers found 21 vaping-related organisations – including manufacturers, distributors and review websites – offering a total of 40 scholarships to high school and college students in the US, according to the report in the journal Tobacco Control.

Study co-author Dr. Adam Goldstein, director of tobacco intervention programs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said: “Having youth write essays about the positive benefits of vaping at the same time as the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has increased age restrictions to 21 shows a disconnect between the industries trying to increase vaping use and the policy makers trying to decrease such use among youth.” Such scholarships should be prohibited, Goldstein said.

After hearing about examples of vaping-company scholarships, Goldstein and colleagues wanted to know more about the practice. They searched online for documents related to scholarship opportunities from e-cigarette and vaping companies targeted to youth or young adults. Ultimately, they discovered 21 vaping-related organisations, some offering multiple scholarship types. The scholarships ranged in value from $300 to $5,000. Most required an essay submission, with “most listing prompts related to e-cigarettes or eliciting information about the benefits of vaping,” the researchers note.

Source: Reuters, 2 January 2020

Tobacco Control: Vaping industry-funded academic scholarships

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Greece: The tobacco farmers chasing a sweeter crop

Seven years ago, a group of Greek farmers stopped growing tobacco and switched to a trendy alternative to sugar – stevia. They made the change after being persuaded by a mechanical engineer called Christos Stamatis, who wanted to emulate the success of six California tobacco growers who had also started to cultivate the stevia plant.

An extract of the plant’s leaves makes a natural, calorie-free sugar substitute. It has been around for centuries, but has only started to enter the mainstream in the past 10 years. Mr Stamatis sought out farmers in his native region of Fthiotida – in their fields or during their breaks in the local cafés – to convince them to plant stevia instead of their less profitable tobacco crop.

His power of persuasion worked, as 150 farmers each contributed €500 towards setting up the Stevia Hellas Co-operative. “We discovered crowdsourcing long before it became mainstream in my village,” Mr Stamatis says, “People have power and we took advantage of it.” It was the first business in Europe to produce stevia and it now employs around 300 people. It sells liquid stevia extracts and stevia powders under its own brand name, La Mia Stevia, and also exports in bulk to western Europe, Canada, the US and the United Arab Emirates.

Source: BBC, 2 January 2020

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Link of the Week

New resource: Local Alliances Roadmap

The Local Alliances Roadmap sets out the resources available to support local tobacco control alliances to deliver comprehensive, evidence based activity to ensure local prevalence reduction and work towards a smokefree generation. The map provides an overview of the key components of tobacco control alliances, and provides examples of local strategies, action plans, terms of reference and communication campaigns.

The roadmap has been developed by ASH and Fresh with support from a Task and Finish group with members from local authority public health teams. If you have any queries about the roadmap please get in touch.

See Roadmap