Cost of cigarettes must rise to reflect environmental damage from tobacco industry, WHO says
A new report published by the WHO has recommended that the cost of cigarettes should rise to reflect the wide-ranging environmental damage caused by the tobacco industry, and compares the industry’s carbon footprint to that of an entire country. In the UK, which has very little domestic tobacco production, smoking cigarettes “is done entirely at the expense of other nations’ resources and environmental health”, the report said.
Cigarette production and consumption has risen in recent decades with around 6 trillion cigarettes manufactured annually for an estimated 1 billion smokers. Tobacco farms take up more than 20,000 square miles of land globally and use over 22 billion tonnes of water. This is in addition to a range of environmental and social costs including high levels of pesticide use, soil depletion and child labour.
Professor Nick Voulvoulis, co-author of the report, said: “The environmental impacts of cigarette smoking, from cradle to grave, add significant pressures to the planet’s increasingly scarce resources and fragile ecosystems.” Dr Nicholas Hopkinson, co-author of the report, added: “Tobacco transnationals based in high income countries are literally and metaphorically burning the resources and the future of the most vulnerable people on our planet.”
Source: Independent, 2 October 2018
Daily Bulletin 3: Framework Convention Alliance at the WHO FCTC conference of the parties
Highlights from today’s agenda include implementing the ban on Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship – in the digital age; Switzerland’s relationship with the tobacco industry; PMI’s Foundation for a Smoke-Free World; the financial case for investment in tobacco control; the WHO’s new report on the environmental impact of the tobacco industry (see above); and tobacco price fixing in Sri Lanka.
Article 13 – A comprehensive ban on Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship (TAPS) – is key to reducing the uptake of tobacco and reducing tobacco-related harm. Changing patterns of media consumption present challenges to effectively banning TAPS, particularly cross-border TAPS.
US: FDA seizes documents from Juul in latest e-cigarette crackdown
On Tuesday the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) seized over 1,000 pages of documents from e-cigarette manufacturer Juul Labs, as part of its ongoing investigation into the company’s sales and marketing practices.
Last month the regulator announced that it was considering a ban on flavoured e-cigarettes due to concerns around youth uptake.
Juul makes up around 72% of the US e-cigarette market and has come under increasing scrutiny for its marketing practices, having released over 50,000 pages of documents to the FDA since April.
Source: Reuters, 2 October 2018
Philip Morris lobbying on e-cigarettes hidden from Australian public
Philip Morris International (PMI) has been lobbying Australian MPs to overturn the ban on vaping. This has been effectively hidden from the public due to a loophole in the Australian lobbying oversight system which allows companies to avoid signing up to the country’s lobbying register if they use lobbyists from within their own company rather than hiring a third party lobbyist.
PMI has been seeking meetings with MPs to discuss the vaping ban and engages a number of former government officials, including one registered lobbyist. The company argues that these merely provide advice and do not lobby on PMI’s behalf.
PMI has also taken advantage of an exemption in Australia’s tobacco advertising ban by placing prominent job ads in two major newspapers calling for staff to help it achieve a “future without cigarettes” and a “smoke-free Australia”.
Source: The Guardian, 2 October 2018
Study: US teenagers’ use of e-cigarettes and tobacco linked
A new study by the Rand Corporation has suggested that use of e-cigarettes among teenagers is linked with increased regular cigarette use, and vice versa. Youths who reported vaping at 17 years of age (8%) had a cigarette smoking rate of 6%. By the time they reached 19 years of age the proportion of young people who vaped increased to 9%, whereas the proportion who smoked cigarettes increased to 12%.
The study surveyed over 2,000 youths in California from when they were teenagers continuing until they were young adults.
Study author, Michael Dunbar said: “This highlights the importance of taking steps to prevent youth from vaping in the first place.”
The UK currently bans all forms of tobacco advertising and restricts advertising for e-cigarettes. Age of sale of both tobacco and e-cigarettes is 18.
Source: The Guardian, 2 October 2018
Editorial note: The researchers found that use of e-cigarettes increases the likelihood of youth smoking and vice versa and that there are common risk factors for both.
A recent survey conducted by ASH found that 0.3% of 11-18 year olds who had never smoked were currently using e-cigarettes.
Smoking rates among young people in the UK continue to fall.
See also: ASH survey on youth e-cigarette use
Link of the week
New ASH survey: Number of vapers rises ‘to more than three million’ in Britain
The number of vapers in Great Britain has topped three million for the first time – four times the number in 2012, according to a survey by Action on Smoking and Health. Most use e-cigarettes because they have quit smoking and 40% are smokers who are trying to give up. The estimations are based on a survey of 12,000 British adults.
A “worrying” belief that vaping is as bad as smoking still exists, particularly among smokers who haven’t yet tried e-cigarettes. Earlier this year, Public Health England said e-cigarettes should be made available on prescription because of how successful they were in helping people give up smoking.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH, said: “UK policy is on the right track, with thousands of smokers making the switch to vaping and improving their health and little sign of non-smokers taking up vaping. But even more smokers could benefit if e-cigarettes were licensed as medicines and available on prescription.”
Dr Leonie Brose, King’s College London, said:
“The continued false belief among some smokers that vaping is as bad as smoking is worrying. Campaigns from Public Health England and others to challenge these views are important and must continue.”
See also: ASH Factsheet, Use of e-cigarettes among adults in Great Britain, 2018
Source: BBC News, 14 September 2018
Concerns flavoured e-cigarettes could be banned in UK
The US Food and Drug Administration recently warned some of America’s largest flavoured e-cigarette brands that their products could be banned, unless the companies can prove ‘within 60 days’ that they have effective plans to stop sales to children. This had led to concerns in the UK that a similar move could occur here.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH, told The Sun Online that banning flavours would make it less likely smokers would quit. “Banning flavours would undermine the effectiveness of e-cigarettes in helping adult smokers quit, and there’s no sign it’s needed in Britain,” she said.
“Only a tiny proportion of teens vape, smoking rates have continued to go down, and there’s no evidence e-cigs are a gateway into smoking.
“The danger is that a flavour ban will benefit the tobacco industry not public health, as it will discourage smokers from switching to vaping. Certainly the market thinks so as tobacco company stocks gained around $20 billion in value on the FDA announcement.”
See also: ASH Factsheet, Use of e-cigarettes among young people in Great Britain, 2018
Source: The Sun Online, 13 September 2018
Lancashire: Smokers encouraged to join ‘Smoke Free Homes Month’ in September
Smokers in Lancashire are being encouraged to protect children and young people from second-hand smoke, by keeping their surrounding environment smokefree.
Gareth Beck from the ‘Quit Squad’ said: “It’s important for parents and grandparents who smoke to realise the harms that second hand smoke does to children.
“Over 80% of second hand smoke is invisible and odourless; every time a child breathes in second hand smoke, they breathe in thousands of chemicals that put them at risk of serious health conditions including meningitis, cancer, bronchitis and pneumonia.
“The best way to protect children is to give up smoking and make the Smoke Free Pledge, which is a commitment to make your home smoke free to protect your family from second hand smoke.”
Source: Lancaster Guardian, 13 September 2018
Cheshire: Cigarettes and tobacco seized in crackdown on illegal trade
Cheshire East Council trading standards officers have seized cigarettes and tobacco worth more than £9,000 during a raid. Chester Crown Court was told 30,679 cigarettes and 24.3kg of rolling tobacco were uncovered during a raid on a property in Macclesfield on April 7, 2017, by Cheshire East Council’s trading standards investigations team.
Officers found cigarettes and tobacco at the premises with further products found in the shop owner’s vehicle.
Source: The Business Desk, 13 September 2018
Link of the week
ASH Article 5.3 toolkit
In recent weeks the Tobacco Manufacturers have been discovered to have been contacting NHS Trusts and local authorities trying to engage them in joint working. Any such collaboration or partnership with the tobacco industry would be in contravention of the obligations the UK has to protect public health policy from the commercial and vested interests of the tobacco industry (see link for Guardian and Observer articles about this). ASH and iPiP created a toolkit to help those interested in protecting local health policies from the tobacco industry which you may find helpful.
See also: The Observer, Council’s vaping project with British American Tobacco labelled ‘a disgrace’
On Thursday 23 November 2017 ASH and the Tobacco Control Collaborating Centre hosted a webinar on the implementation of Article 5.3 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in local authorities. You can watch the webinar below.
The running order was as follows:
A briefing for Local Authorities to help them meet their obligations as parties to the World Health Organization treaty on tobacco, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC – article 5.3) and to the Local Government Declaration on Tobacco Control.ASH Briefing: Developing a policy on contact with the tobacco industry