ASH Daily News for 5 August 2019



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UK

  • Council tenants could be prohibited from smoking when workmen visit their homes
  • Juul launches e-cigarette that monitors use

International

  • South Africa proposes comprehensive tobacco control regulations
  • US: State of Minnesota has $297 million invested in tobacco firms
  • US: Ohio city will no longer hire smokers or vapers

UK

Council tenants could be prohibited from smoking when workmen visit their homes

Council tenants could be prohibited from smoking when council workmen visit their homes if Sandwell councillors accept changes to tenancy agreements. Members of the safer neighbourhoods and active communities scrutiny board are being asked to consider a range of new conditions on rented properties.

Councillor Joanne Hadley, the cabinet member for homes explained the reasons for prohibiting smoking. She said: “We have a duty of care to our staff and we want to ensure they are not exposed to smoking when they visit tenants in their homes. This would not be a ban on tenants smoking in their homes, this is common practice and we’re not the first council to propose similar restrictions on tenants smoking while staff are carrying out repairs or visiting.”

Source: Birmingham Live, 2 August 2019

See also:
ASH: Smoking in the home: New solutions for a Smokefree Generation. 2018

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Juul launches e-cigarette that monitors use

The vaping brand Juul has launched an e-cigarette with a tracking device that monitors every puff and where it took place. The company, which says the key aim of the tracker is to “empower” customers with information about their nicotine use, is set to become the first vaping company to harvest vast amounts of data about individual consumption.

The product, called the Juul C1 and costing £24.99, has initially been launched as a pilot project. It can be used only after a strict age verification check. The minimum age of sale for e-cigarettes is 18. Technology in the Juul C1 enables it to pair with an app via Bluetooth and transfer data about the device’s use and location. Data will be stored about the daily number of puffs taken, along with weekly and monthly averages.

Phil Booth, co-ordinator of medConfidential, a health data privacy group, said: “People may find this useful to track their habit but they need to be aware they are handing over large amounts of data to Juul.” The company said it would collect and store data in compliance with all relevant regulations.

Source: The Sunday Times, 4 August 2019

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International

South Africa proposes comprehensive tobacco control regulations

The government of South Africa is considering legislation to implement a range of tobacco control policies. Government and civil rights organisations have said that draft regulations will safeguard the vulnerable, including young children, from the serious and often deadly effects of tobacco and related products.

The draft Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill, proposes a ban on smoking in indoor and outdoor public places and would require smokers to be at least 10m from public entrances when consuming tobacco products outside. The draft legislation also proposes to remove all signage on cigarette packaging aside from the brand name and warning stickers, and would prohibit retailers from publicly displaying cigarettes.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said that: “The prohibition is in line with tobacco control best practice to protect bystanders and children from exposure to harmful second-hand tobacco product emissions”. The draft legislation is consistent with South Africa’s obligations under the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

Source: Saturday Star, 3 August 2019

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US: State of Minnesota has $297 million invested in tobacco firms

Two decades after Minnesota reached a landmark settlement with the tobacco industry and released much of its stock, the state still has at least $297 million invested in major tobacco companies, including Philip Morris and British American Tobacco. The investments, held through a state board responsible for managing public employees’ retirement funds, remain despite efforts by public officials to divest from tobacco on financial and ethical grounds.

Some members of the State Board of Investment, which oversees the state’s $95.7 billion investment portfolio, said they were surprised to learn about the extent of state money invested in tobacco companies.

State officials’ decision to divest from tobacco by 2001 was described at the time as fiscally prudent. They expected the companies to take a financial hit after the lawsuits and wanted to protect retirees from losing money. However, Philip Morris stock traded around $83.50 on Friday (2 August), a nearly 80% increase over its value 10 years ago. An investment in British American Tobacco is up about 20% over the same period.

Source: Star Tribune, 4 August 2019

See also:
ASH Briefing: Local authority pension funds and investments in the tobacco industry

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US: Ohio city will no longer hire smokers or vapers

The city of Dayton, Ohio, says it will no longer hire anyone who uses nicotine or tobacco in order to encourage a healthier workplace and environment and also save money. “Studies indicate that employees that smoke cost approximately an additional $6,000 per year in direct medical costs and lost productivity,” according to Kenneth Couch, the city’s director of human resources.

Employees already working for the city won’t be affected by the new policy, city officials say, though the plan also includes the elimination of designated smoking areas around city property.

But leaders of labor unions say they fear the new city policy could be a “slippery slope” that could lead to employees facing more scrutiny of their personal behaviours and private lives that have little or nothing to do with their job performance. 30 states and the District of Columbia have made it illegal to make an employment decision based on off-the-job smoking, and California and Connecticut prohibit discrimination based on any activity that is legal.

Source: Fox News, 4 August 2019

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