ASH Daily News for 8 November 2019


  • ACS raises Track and Trace concerns with the European Commission
  • Sir Kevin Barron honoured to have served as Rother Valley’s MP


  • China censors films and TV series that have ‘too many’ smoking scenes
  • Juul halts sales of its mint flavor
  • US vaping-related deaths climb to 39, illnesses to 2,051

Links of the week

  • ASH: Progress towards smokefree mental health services
  • Cochrane reviews



ACS raises Track and Trace concerns with the European Commission

A list of key retailer concerns with the UK’s newly-implemented Track and Trace system for tobacco products has been raised with the European Commission (EC). The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), with the support of Independent Retail Europe, highlighted the concerns ahead of a meeting of the EC Tobacco Control Subgroup on Traceability and Security Features.

The ACS said it hoped that the subgroup would be able to support retailers by providing clarity on a number of aspects of the regulations, which the said were still left open to interpretation. They cite concerns surrounding requirements with scanning and recording the movement and sale of tobacco, including: the appeals process for claiming compensation; operational disruption due to the time required to scan and record tobacco; lack of clarity on requirements to record the sale of tobacco; and ambiguity around escalation or notification processes if the system goes offline.

The Track and Trace regulations introduced in May 2019 require all retailers who sell tobacco to apply for both economic operator and facility identifier codes.

Source: Convenience Store, 8 November 2019

See also: Tobacco Tactics – Association of Convenience Stores

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Sir Kevin Barron honoured to have served as Rother Valley’s MP

Sir Kevin Barron, former Labour MP for Rother Valley, writes in the Worksop Guardian regarding his decision to stand down ahead of the General Election:

“This will be my last column for the Worksop Guardian as, after more than 36 years in the House of Commons, I stood down this week […] It has been the honour of my life to represent Rother Valley, a constituency that I first moved to at the age of eight when my father, a Durham miner, moved to South Yorkshire. Having been elected in 1983, my baptism came very shortly after, when 4,500 miners went on strike for 12 months. With the Orgreave coke works in my constituency, I was kept on my toes. That was followed by three years as the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the then Leader of the Opposition.

“The major work that I have done in the House is with select committees. I chaired the health committee for five years, from 2005 to 2010. One of the earliest things that committee did was to secure a free vote in the House on bringing in a comprehensive ban on smoking in public places. Some people said at the time that it would be the end of the world as we knew it, but now people say that it is the most popular piece of public health legislation that the House has ever introduced.

“[…] I’d like to thank the people of Rother Valley. Whoever wins the seat at the election, I hope that they will feel the same satisfaction representing it that I have.”

Source: Worksop Guardian, 8 November 2019

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China censors films and TV series that have ‘too many’ smoking scenes

China has vowed to clamp down on films and TV series that have ‘too many’ smoking scenes in order to prevent young people taking up cigarettes.

Smoking scenes that are deemed irrelevant to the plot or the characters will face being cut and movies and TV programmes that feature smoking ‘extensively’ will be barred from awards. The directive was jointly issued late last month by eight governmental organs, including National Health Commission, Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China as well as National Radio and Television Administration.

There are more than 300 million smokers in China, nearly one-third of the world’s total, according to World Trade Organization. Every year, around one million Chinese people die from diseases caused by tobacco.

Source: Daily Mail, 7 November 2019

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Juul halts sales of its mint flavor

Juul is halting sales of its mint flavoured pods, following the release of two studies this week on teenage e-cigarette use, Juul announced Thursday 7th November. Studies published Tuesday 5th November in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that more than half of teens who vaped used Juul and mint was the most popular flavour among high school kids.

In a statement, Juul CEO KC Crosthwaite said: “These results are unacceptable and that is why we must reset the vapour category in the US and earn the trust of society by working cooperatively with regulators, Attorneys General, public health officials, and other stakeholders to combat underage use. We will support the upcoming FDA flavour policy.”

Juul will now sell just three flavors in the US: menthol, Virginia tobacco and classic tobacco. The company last month suspended sales of its other sweet flavors — mango, creme, fruit and cucumber — nearly a year after pulling them from convenience stores, vape shops and other retailers amid pressure from the US Food and Drug Administration.

Source: CNBC, 7 November 2019

See also:
JAMA: E-cigarette Use Among Youth in the United States, 2019
JAMA: Flavors of e-cigarettes Used by Youths in the United States

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US vaping-related deaths climb to 39, illnesses to 2,051

US health officials on Thursday reported 2,051 confirmed and probable cases and 2 more deaths from a mysterious respiratory illness tied to vaping, taking the total death toll to 39.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 1,888 cases and 37 deaths from the illness. As of Tuesday 5th November, 39 deaths have been confirmed in 24 states and the District of Columbia, the agency said.

Source: Reuters, 7 November 2019

See also: CDC – Outbreak of Lung Injury Associated with the Use of E-Cigarette, or Vaping, Products

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Links of the week

ASH: Progress towards smokefree mental health services

ASH has published a new report on the findings from a survey of NHS mental health trusts in England conducted by ASH for Public Health England in Spring 2019.

The survey finds that:
• 1 in 5 mental health trusts still do not have a comprehensive smokefree policy in place, despite the Government deadline for implementation having passed last year
• Staff behaviour often enables smoking, with staff accompanying patients on smoking breaks every day in 57% of trusts
• In 55% of trusts, patients were not always asked if they smoked on admission
• Only 47% of trusts offered the choice of combination NRT or varenicline in line with NICE best practice
Although smokefree policies are now well established in some mental health trusts, others still have much to do to normalise smokefree practice for staff and patients. This new study describes how far trusts have come, and how much has been achieved, while also identifying areas where further progress is needed.

See Report

Cochrane reviews

Cochrane have published two new reviews on smoking cessation:

Exercise interventions for smoking cessation

Key findings include:
• There is insufficient evidence to recommend exercise as a specific aid to smoking cessation.
• Further trials are needed with larger sample sizes, sufficiently intense exercise interventions, techniques for maximising exercise adherence, and objective measures of exercise levels.
• Studies are needed in low and middle income countries, and among special populations of smokers who might especially benefit from an exercise intervention.

Real-time video counselling for smoking cessation

Key findings include:
• There is very little evidence about the effectiveness of real-time video counselling for smoking cessation.
• The existing research does not suggest a difference between video counselling and telephone counselling for assisting people to quit smoking, but this is based on very low certainty evidence.
• High quality randomised trials comparing real-time video counselling to telephone counselling and to minimal control conditions are needed.