Significant cuts to stop smoking services across UK
Thousands of smokers are being left without the support they need to quit after prescriptions of products to help them stop have plummeted by 75% over the last decade, according to a new report by the British Lung Foundation (BLF).
GPs are the most common first port of call for smokers who want to beat their addiction in England – 38% of smokers choose this route. However, primary care prescriptions of nicotine replacement patches and gum and the smoking-cessation drugs bupropion and varenicline fell by three-quarters in England between 2005-06 and 2016-17.
In Scotland there was a 40% drop, while in Wales prescription rates fell by two-thirds. This is despite the fact that a combination of support and medication has been shown to be the most effective way to help smokers quit – increasing the chance of successfully beating their addiction threefold compared with going “cold turkey” – and is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice).
Source: The Observer, 15 July 2018
See also: British Lung Foundation, Less Help to Quit: What’s happening to stop-smoking prescriptions across Britain
A fifth of people in Ipswich still smoke – one of the highest rates in Britain
A fifth of people living in Ipswich still smoke, new Office for National Statistics data shows.
Smoking rates across the country have fallen steadily, including in East Anglia. In Ipswich the proportion of smokers has fallen from 23.6% in 2011 to 20% last year. However this is still above the average for England which is now at 14.9%.
Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for health, James Reeder, said the council took helping people to quit smoking very seriously. “Three people in Suffolk die from smoking related illnesses each day, last year our initiatives helped 1,624 people quit smoking. We are working with other partners in the health system to ensure prevention is included in the new integrated care system being delivered through the alliances.”
Source: East Anglian Daily Times, 15 July 2018
Illegal tobacco seized in Croydon
Trading Standards officers and specialist handlers with sniffer dogs found around 700 packets of illegal cigarettes at three properties in Thornton Heath and West Croydon.
The counterfeit packets, all of which were found at independent shops and are sold for around £10 each, featured fake packaging from well-known cigarette brands including Marlboro, Dunhill, Rothmans and Mayfair.
Source: Talking Retail, 16 July 2018
Tobacco stocks have lost around 20% this year
As of July 12, the world’s three biggest tobacco companies have each lost around 20% of their stock value this year. According to data from S&P; Global Market Intelligence, Altria (NYSE: MO), the U.S. seller of Marlboro, is down 18%; Philip Morris (NYSE: PM), the international distributor of Marlboro and other brands, has fallen 21%; and British American Tobacco (NYSE: BTI), which sells brands including Dunhill and Pall Mall, is down 22%.
The industry is struggling with the global shift away from smoking cigarettes due to health concerns, while at the same time trying to pivot to alternatives such as e-cigarettes. The once financially-reliable sector has suffered this year and its biggest three stocks saw significant losses in April.
Source: Yahoo Finance, 15 July 2018
Andorra vows to kick habit of cigarette advertising
Andorra said on Thursday that it will soon ban cigarette advertisements. The government has signed up to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which aims to discourage smoking and combat contraband sales.
The tiny principality of Andorra, perched in the Pyrenees on the border between France and Spain, attracts millions of shoppers each year to duty-free stores, where prices of alcohol, cigarettes, electronics and clothes can be up to 20% lower than elsewhere in the EU.
High taxes on tobacco imposed by many countries make Andorra’s cigarettes relatively cheap. The average pack in Andorra costs just three euros compared with eight euros in France, which has said it will gradually raise the price to 10 euros a pack by November 2020.
Tobacco sales bring in some 110 million euros a year for Andorra, whose economy is otherwise based almost entirely on tourism. It is also an enticing destination for smugglers, with French and Spanish border agents regularly seizing cartons from people trying to sneak them out, either by car or by hiking down the mountain trails which criss-cross the Pyrenees.
No date has been set for the advertising ban, which will come into effect three months after the ratification of the WHO Convention is agreed by parliament.
Source: Medical Xpress, 12 July 2018
16 October 2017
Responding to mounting pressure, UN agency to consider severing ties with the tobacco industry
Following the decision by the UN Global Compact in September to exclude the tobacco industry, the International Labour Organization (ILO) will decide shortly whether it, too, will finally sever ties with Big Tobacco. The decision, set to come at its governing body meeting at the end of October, could close one of the tobacco industry’s last-remaining avenues of influence to the United Nations.
The decision comes as public health and labour leaders from around the world delivered a letter  this week to government representatives of the ILO Governing Body calling on them to end the ILO’s public-private partnerships with the tobacco industry. Global public health leaders from the Secretariat of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC)  to global tobacco control organizations  have long called for the ILO to shut its doors to Big Tobacco.
Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of public health charity Action on Smoking and Health, said:
“Tobacco kills millions every year, it is the only legal product that is lethal when used as intended and it undermines health and development. Finally the ILO is taking this seriously and we urge it to join other UN agencies in cutting its ties with Big Tobacco, in line with the requirements of the global health treaty the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.”
Since 2015, the ILO has received more than $15 million USD from tobacco corporations for joint programs, including more than $10 million from Japan Tobacco International for its Achieving Reduction of Child Labour in Supporting of Education (ARISE) program.  The industry promotes these programs to boost its public relations,  but they do little to curb child labour in tobacco fields because they do not shift the tobacco industry-driven cycle of poverty for tobacco farmers that forces children into the fields.
The ILO’s links to the tobacco industry violates a core tenet of the FCTC, which establishes a firewall between the tobacco industry and public health policymaking.
Notes and Links:
Action on Smoking and Health is a health charity working to eliminate the harm caused by tobacco use. For more information see: www.ash.org.uk/about-ash
ASH receives funding for its programme of work from Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation.
ASH staff are available for interview and have an ISDN line. For more information contact ASH on 020 7404 0242 or out of hours Deborah Arnott on 07976 935 987 or Hazel Cheeseman on 07754 358 593.
 Letter to the government members of the ILO Governing Body, Unfair Tobacco website. October 2017
 There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch, Dr Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva, Huffington Post 8 March 2017
 ILO should vote to keep the tobacco industry from the policy table. Press release. Vital Strategies. 15 March 2017.
 Reducing the worst forms of child labour in tobacco-growing communities in Brazil, Malawi and Zambia: Public-Private Partnership. ILO website. 6 October 2015.
 Otanez M, Glantz S, Social responsibility in tobacco production? Tobacco companies use of green supply chains to obscure the real costs of tobacco farming. BMJ Tobacco Control. April 2011.
 World Health Organisation, Article 5.3 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.