ASH Daily News for 6 February 2020



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UK

Imperial Brands warns vaping crackdown will hit earnings

International

Vaping: Companies feel burn from US lawmakers

Juul sought out high schoolers and Native Americans, congressional investigators said

Parliamentary Activity

Parliamentary questions

UK

Imperial Brands warns vaping crackdown will hit earnings

Tobacco group Imperial Brands warned that earnings would fall this year as a crackdown on vaping in the US hit their business. The group’s shares were down 8% to £17.95 in morning trading in London.

The group said net revenues across its vaping business, which includes e-cigarette brand Blu and heated tobacco products, would be “significantly lower” than a year earlier. Imperial, which this week named Stefan Bomhard as new chief executive, has suffered after US authorities banned certain vaping pod flavours and consumer demand weakened following an unexpected outbreak of THC vaping-related lung illness.

Imperial, which bought the e-cigarette brand Blu in 2015, said on Wednesday that it expected first-half earnings per share to fall 10% as it phased out stock affected by the ban.

Full-year adjusted earnings per share would be “slightly lower” than last year, it said, while overall net revenue would be at a similar level to last year’s £7.7bn. Imperial has come under heavy pressure from investors to improve its prospects in recent months. Shares in the company have fallen more than 27% in the past year.

Source: Financial Times, 5 February 2020

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International

Vaping: Companies feel burn from US lawmakers

US lawmakers called for tougher rules for e-cigarette companies at a hearing on Wednesday (5 February) as they blamed executives for introducing a new generation to nicotine. The US is looking to write new industry rules amid rising concern about vaping among teenagers. Congress recently raised the age to purchase vaping products to 21. President Donald Trump also signed a partial ban.

More than 27% of US teenagers aged 14-18 and about 10% of those aged 11-13 had used e-cigarettes at least once in the past 30 days, according to a survey by the Centers for Disease Control. About a fifth of older teens said they had used vaping products “frequently”.

From May, companies selling e-cigarettes in the United States will have to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Source: BBC News, 5 February 2020

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Juul sought out high schoolers and Native Americans, congressional investigators said

The Congressional committee investigating Juul’s role in contributing to youth vaping released the leading e-cigarette maker’s responses about its controversial outreach to high schools, tribal governments, and state politicians on Wednesday.

In January, the Trump administration announced a new FDA policy effectively banning all flavours of vape cartridge except for tobacco and menthol. Juul had halted sales of such flavours on its own in November 2019, following allegations that it was marketing to underage vapers.

“In just eight months, the investigation has fundamentally altered the e-cigarette landscape for the better,” says the 46-page memo from the House Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy led by Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois. The memo details Juul’s response to 60 questions from the committee, ranging from the source of the tobacco for its nicotine — 100% of it is grown in India — to the number of states where Juul lobbies for its products, which is 48, excluding Missouri and Vermont.

The answers reveal Juul had made more outreach efforts to tribal governments than was previously known, has not given up on selling flavors, and acknowledges its products aren’t meant to help people ever kick nicotine addiction, but rather to make the “switch” from smoking to vaping.

“JUUL’s targeting of Native American Tribes was more pervasive than initially known,” investigators concluded, noting that Juul’s moves to hand out free products were a violation of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. In addition to providing more detail on how Juul targeted its marketing efforts toward kids in high schools in the US, the investigation also states that Juul has admitted to continuing to market to kids outside the US.

Source: Buzzfeed News, 5 February 2020

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Parliamentary Activity

Parliamentary questions

PQ1: E-cigarettes

Asked by Baroness Redfern
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to ban e-smoking from all hospital grounds.

Answered by Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford
The Government has no plans to introduce legislative proposals to ban e-cigarettes on hospital grounds.

The Government believes in the proportionate regulation of e-cigarettes, recognising that they are not risk-free. Through the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016, we have introduced measures to regulate e-cigarettes which reduce the risk of harm to children, protect against the risk of renormalisation of tobacco use, provide assurance on relative safety for users, and give businesses legal certainty.

Public Health England has published advice to help employers to introduce policies around the use of e-cigarettes in public places and workplaces.

Source: Hansard, 5 February 2020

https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Lords/2020-01-23/HL766/

PQ2: E-cigarettes

Asked by Baroness Redfern
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether people who vape are given the same access to NHS services as people who smoke who are seeking to quit; and if not, why not.

Answered by Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford
Stop smoking services are designed to help people who wish to stop using tobacco products and offer a range of options to support. E-cigarettes are not tobacco products and therefore people using them are not eligible for stop smoking services. We would still advise everyone that not smoking/quitting entirely is the best option.

Source: Hansard, 5 February 2020

https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Lords/2020-01-23/HL765/