ASH Daily News for 5 March 2020



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UK

  • More than 20kg of illegal shisha tobacco seized from Oxford business

International

  • ‘Thirdhand’ smoke a potential health risk in cinemas
  • US: Kentucky bill banning sale of tobacco and vaping products for people under 21 advances

 

UK

More than 20kg of illegal shisha tobacco seized from Oxford business

More than 20kg of illegal tobacco used for shisha smoking has been seized from an Oxford business following an anonymous tip-off. The suspected smuggled goods were found after Oxfordshire County Council revealed last week it had uncovered similar illegal tobacco from three separate Oxford businesses. This led to an anonymous tip-off via the Illegal Tobacco Hotline which led to the products being seized. The tobacco did not carry the statutory graphic or text warnings.

Source: Oxford Mail, 4 March 2020

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International

‘Thirdhand’ smoke a potential health risk in cinemas

Researchers have raised concerns about possible risks from ‘thirdhand smoke’. Writing in the journal Science Advances, the researchers report how they tracked traces of cigarette smoke in a German cinema – a venue where smoking is not permitted. The cinema was 1,300 sq metres in size, and supplied with fresh, filtered air from outside. The team sampled the exhaust air duct of the cinema for four days and detected 35 volatile substances that are found in tobacco smoke, including formaldehyde and the carcinogenic chemical benzene. The researchers also collected samples of fine, airborne particles from the cinema and analysed the substances stuck to them.

Concentrations of such substances showed a spike when customers entered the screening. Less pronounced spikes were seen for earlier showtimes, while levels of the substances were lower for family films than for “R-rated” action films aimed at older cinemagoers, despite the latter having smaller audiences. The team found signs that substances from thirdhand smoke build up over time. The team say the study offers a real-life example of exposure, adding that other spaces, which may be smaller with poorer ventilation – such as bars, offices and underground trains – could have much higher levels of thirdhand smoke.

Prof John Britton, director of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies and consultant in respiratory medicine at Nottingham University, said the results were not surprising. “This study confirms what anyone with a sense of smell has already worked out: that smokers carry and emit tobacco smoke components into the atmosphere even when not smoking. In reality the exposure sustained by others in such circumstances is low, and any health risk likely to be likewise,” he said, although he called for more research into potential impacts.

Others said it was not clear whether the levels of thirdhand smoke detected were high enough to cause health problems. “It is a long road … to showing that there is anything that non-smokers should be concerned about,” said Martin Jarvis, emeritus professor of health psychology at University College London. Prof Jacqui Hamilton, an expert in aerosol chemistry and air quality from York University noted that, while the detected emissions included hazardous chemicals such as benzene and formaldehyde, some of the most toxic compounds within thirdhand smoke – tobacco-specific nitrosamines – were not detected, although it was not clear why.

Source: The Guardian, 4 March 2020

Science Advances – Human transport of thirdhand tobacco smoke: A prominent source of hazardous air pollutants into indoor nonsmoking environments

See also:
New Scientist – Smoking bans don’t prevent you having to breathe in smoke particles

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US: Kentucky bill banning sale of tobacco, vaping products for people under 21 advances

A bill to ban tobacco use or vaping for young people took another step in the Kentucky General Assembly on Wednesday 4th March. Senate Bill 56 would prohibit the sale of tobacco and vaping products to anyone under the age of 21.

Advocates of the bill say it addresses growing problems of young people vaping and using tobacco products. Bonnie Hackbarth, Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky said: “more than one in four high school students answers yes to the question, have you used an e-cigarette in the last 30 days.” The bill passed the house committee 14-3 and now goes to the full house.

Source: WKYT, 4 March 2020

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