ASH Daily News for 8 October 2019



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UK

  • Lynton Crosby’s firm in illegal lobbying inquiry over Boris Johnson link
  • Guardian letter: Big tobacco is still sponsoring the arts

International

  • US: Proposed law could limit nicotine in e-cigarettes
  • Study: E-cigarette vapour linked to lung cancer in mice

 

UK

Lynton Crosby’s firm in illegal lobbying inquiry over Boris Johnson link

Sir Lynton Crosby’s CTF Partners is under investigation for a potential breach of lobbying laws amid suspicions that its employees’ work for senior Conservatives including Boris Johnson could have overlapped with their day jobs representing paying clients. CTF Partners has so far failed to provide sufficient information to satisfy regulators that it did not use its employees’ access to senior politicians to improperly influence government policy.

This has prompted the registrar of consultant lobbyists to take the rare decision to exert its legal powers and formally demand CTF Partners provides detailed evidence showing how the company ensured it did not allow the aims of its clients – which include major corporates and foreign governments – to influence their staff’s unpaid work with senior politicians including the prime minister.

Evidence uncovered by the Guardian in a series of stories this year shows CTF has worked with the Saudi Arabian government, major fossil fuel producers, and anti-cycling campaigners, tobacco firms and sugary drinks producers on campaigns.

“What do they have in place to ensure their representatives, if they’re working with government ministers, stop talking about what their other paying clients are doing? Whether intentionally or inadvertently they may be doing consultant lobbying activity,” said a spokesperson for the Office of the Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists.

Source: The Guardian, 8 October 2019

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Guardian letter: Big tobacco is still sponsoring the arts

It is heartening to read that arts organisations are choosing to sever their links with fossil fuel companies following public pressure.

Of course, similar ethical choices had to be made in the past regarding financial support from tobacco companies. Thankfully that was long ago consigned to history. But was it? In fact, the London Symphony Orchestra still receives sponsorship from British American Tobacco. The LSO, like the NT and RSC, takes its work with schools and young people seriously, and it is therefore unfortunate that the orchestra retains this anachronistic relationship. Perhaps the threat of a boycott of the LSO by performers and audiences could deliver a similar positive result.

Dr Dominic Horne
Ledbury, Herefordshire

Source: The Guardian, 7 October 2019

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International

US: Proposed law could limit nicotine in e-cigarettes

A US congressman has introduced a bill that would put a limit on the amount of nicotine allowed in e-cigarettes. The bill, introduced on Monday by Rep Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), is called the END ENDS Act, or the Ending Nicotine Dependence from Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems Act. It would allow no more than 20 milligrams per milliliter (mg/mL) in liquid pods that are used in e-cigarettes.

Although nicotine levels can vary from brand to brand, Juul – the leading brand of e-cigs – currently contain 59 mg/mL in a standard pod, nearly three times as much as the proposed amount. The bill would also allow the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to lower the cap even further if deemed necessary.

Source: Daily Mail, 8 October 2019

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Study: E-cigarette vapour linked to lung cancer in mice

A new study in the US has found that exposure to nicotine vapour over a year caused mice to develop tumours in their lungs.

The study, published in Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), showed that 9 (22.5%) of the 40 mice exposed to e-cigarette smoke with nicotine over 54 weeks developed lung adenocarcinomas. Prof Tan’s team also exposed 20 mice to e-cigarette smoke that didn’t contain nicotine and found that none of them developed cancer and only one had signs of hyperplasia.

However, the study does have its limitations – including that it was conducted using a relatively small number of mice susceptible to developing cancer over their lifetime. The study mice also did not inhale smoke like a human would, but, instead were surrounded by it.

Prof Peter Hajek, Director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit, Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), said: “The study has unclear relevance for human vapers.

“Rodents were exposed to what are for them huge concentrations of chemicals that bear no resemblance to human exposure from vaping. Several animals in fact died during these exposures. The authors assigned the effects they observed to a carcinogen NNK – but NNK has been measured before in human vapers, and it is known that exposure from vaping is either negligible or none.”

Prof John Britton, a consultant in respiratory medicine at University of Nottingham, added: “The findings are based on very small numbers and need to be interpreted with extreme caution. The comparison between mice breathing vapour and mice breathing air is not statistically significant.”

“There is no sample size justification and no power calculation. There is no message to the public here – I suspect these results are just noise.”

Source: The Sun, 7 October 2019

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