ASH Daily News for 31 January 2020



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UK

Jeremy Hunt elected health committee chair

International

Altria slashes value of Juul stake and loosens ties

Parliamentary Activity

Parliamentary questions

Link of the Week

Statistics on Stop Smoking Services in England April 2019 to September 2019

UK

Jeremy Hunt elected health committee chair

Ex-Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has been elected to head a committee of MPs which scrutinises the performance of the NHS and government health policy.

Mr Hunt, who stood against Boris Johnson for the Conservative leadership last summer, was the longest serving health secretary between 2010 and 2016. Mr Hunt said he was “honoured” to be elected as chair of the health select committee and that he would be pressing the government to move quickly to build a cross-party consensus for a funding settlement for care for the elderly.

There is a select committee for each governmental department, along with a few additional groups. They are made up of 11 or more members who carry out inquiries and create reports into a range of subjects. They are seen as one of the most effective ways of holding ministers and civil servants to account.

Source: BBC, 29 January 2020

See also:
Health Service Journal – Jeremy Hunt elected health committee chair

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International

Altria slashes value of Juul stake and loosens ties

Altria has laid bare the scale of the losses on its investment in Juul, taking a $4.1bn writedown that slashed the value of the e-cigarette company to one-third of the price at which the Marlboro maker bought in little more than a year ago. The New York-listed tobacco company blamed the latest impairment charge in large part on litigation against Juul, which has borne the brunt of a political and regulatory backlash following concerns in the US around teenage vaping.

Howard Willard, Altria chief executive, said on Thursday that he was “highly disappointed” by Juul’s performance, but that there had been “a number of unexpected outcomes” since Altria agreed in December 2018 to pay $12.8bn for its 35% stake. In a sign Altria is scaling back its involvement in Juul, the company also disclosed on Thursday changes to the terms of its investment. Altria is to stop providing sales and distribution services to San Francisco-based Juul.

Mr Willard said that having personnel from both companies involved in the same projects had “created confusion”. Instead it will focus on helping Juul deal with regulation. The amended “relationship agreement” will also allow Altria to develop its own e-cigarettes in some circumstances, including if the value of its investment in Juul drops to below $1.28bn — a tenth of what it originally paid. The Juul writedown pushed Altria into a $1.8bn loss for 2019, compared with a $1.3bn profit the previous year.

Source: Financial Times, 29 January 2020

See also:
BBC – Vaping crackdown costs Juul investor more than $8bn
Engadget – Marlboro owner’s stake in Juul is worth a third of its original value
Business Insider – Altria bet almost $13 billion on Juul, now it’s paying the price with $4.1 billion in impairment charges

Read Article

Parliamentary Activity

Parliamentary questions

PQ1: Prevention Green Paper

Asked by Paul Bristow, Peterborough
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to publish a White Paper on implementing the key recommendations on smoking cessation from the recent Prevention Green Paper; and if he will make a statement.

Answered by Jo Chuchill, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care
Following the consultation on the prevention green paper, Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s, we intend to publish a Government response in due course.

Source: Hansard, HC Deb, 30 January 2020
Link: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2020-01-23/7286/

PQ2 & 3: Heated tobacco products

Asked by Sir Charles Walker, Broxbourne
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to evaluate and harness the potential benefits of (a) heated tobacco products and (b) other new technologies in order for the Government to meet its smoke-free target by 2030.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Green Paper entitled Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s, when he will call for independent evidence to assess the effectiveness of heated tobacco products in helping people to quit smoking and reduce the health harms from smoking.

Answered by Jo Chuchill, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care
As announced in the Prevention Green Paper, as part of our commitment to evaluate the evidence on new products, we will run a call for independent evidence to assess further how effective heated tobacco products are, or are not, in helping people quit smoking and reducing the associated health harms.

The call for evidence will be announced by summer 2020. We continue to monitor the evidence base on e-cigarettes and novel tobacco products. The next Public Health England annual review is to be published shortly.

Source: Hansard, HC Deb, 30 January 2020
Link: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2020-01-27/8194/

PQ4: Framework Convention on Tobacco Control

Asked by Mr David Jones, Clwyd West
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether at the ninth Conference of Parties of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control the UK will be required procedurally to vote in alignment with EU member states as a result of the conference taking place during the implementation period following the UK’s departure from the EU.

Answered by Jo Chuchill, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care
The United Kingdom intends to attend the 9th Conference of the Parties to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in accordance with the terms set out within the withdrawal agreement with the European Union.

Source: Hansard, HC Deb, 30 January 2020
Link: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2020-01-27/8195/

Link of the Week

Statistics on Stop Smoking Services in England April 2019 to September 2019

NHS Digital has published the latest quarterly statistics on Stop Smoking Services in England for the period April 2019 to September 2019.

Key findings include:
• 51% of people successfully quit (self-reported)
• Quitting success (self-reported) increased with age
• 44% of the pregnant women who set a quit date successfully quit (self-reported)

See Report