Bristol shopkeeper jailed for 31 months for illicit tobacco
A Bristol shopkeeper is facing a prison sentence for being found with over 700,000 illicit cigarettes. The resale value was £1 million and in total nearly £230,000 in duty was evaded. HMRC used sniffer dogs which helped uncover a massive stash of illicit tobacco in a self-storage unit.
Source: Bristol Post, 20 August 2018
Fresh ‘Keep it Out Campaign’
BBC’s You and Yours programme ran a piece on the Fresh “Keep It Out” campaign, focussing education initiatives in the North East and of the impact of illegal tobacco. The section with Fresh starts at 27 minutes 42 seconds in. Durham Trading Standards are also interviewed and they highlight the effectiveness of the Fresh campaign.
India: New images for pictorial warnings and mandatory ‘quit line’ number on tobacco product packs
The health ministry has issued new images for the pictorial warnings on cigarette packs and other tobacco products. The images will have to be accompanied with a mandatory quit line number. The government has released two separate sets of pictorial warning images, which will each be used for 12 months. The rules apply to both manufactured and imported cigarettes. India has more than 100 million smokers and the government says smoking kills nearly a million people every year.
Source: The Times of India, 21 August 2018
Turkey considers strict new measures to curb smoking rates
The Turkish government is considering a range of new laws designed to reduce tobacco consumption. Potential measures include raising the age of purchase to 21, increasing taxes on tobacco products, running public health campaigns to increase awareness about the risks of smoking and stricter controls over smoking in enclosed spaces.
One of the proposals is particularly striking: to introduce positive discrimination for non-smoking employees by increasing their annual leave and taxing them at a lower rate.
Source: Ahval, 20 August 2018
Wales: Young people in Gwynedd stamp out smoking
Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has shown that the percentage of Gwynedd’s population who have never smoked has risen by 35% since 2011, with more and more 18 to 24-year-olds choosing not to smoke.
Nationally this age group has had the biggest drop in smoking. Last year across Britain, 17.8% of 18 to 24-year-olds said they were current smokers, compared with 2011 when more than a quarter smoked.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health, put this reduction down to banning tobacco advertising, stating “The brightly coloured pack displays we used to have in shops disappeared completely in 2015 and the packs they do see nowadays are a sludgy green colour, with large picture warnings.”
Source: Cambrian News, 23 July 2018
West Midlands: Sandwell council set to cut funding for stop smoking programme
On Wednesday the 25th of July Sandwell councillors are to discuss the possibility of cutting the stop smoking programme by £360,000, following a reduction in smokers from nearly 23% to 19% of adults in five years, and budget cutbacks.
Councillor Elaine Costigan, cabinet member for public health and protection, said smoking cessation is still a key priority for Sandwell. She stated, “Our budgets are under pressure due to the effects of government cuts but our expenditure on our work in this area will actually be similar to previous years because there has been under-spending in the past…The level of smoking in Sandwell remains significantly higher than the regional and national averages.”
She added: “Our new budget will be a better fit for this service, which will continue to target high prevalence of smoking in ‘hard to reach’ groups. We are also developing innovative ways of delivering stop smoking services through a self-help digital system and helping smokers to access services locally.”
Source: Ludlow & Tenbury Wells Advertiser, 23 July 2018
Opinion: UK faces a vaping dilemma as e-cigarettes puff up the glamour
Linda Bauld, professor of health policy at the University of Stirling and deputy director of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, examines the introduction of the e-cigarette Juul in the UK.
“Juul, the US’s most successful e-cigarette brand, launched in the UK last week. Though aimed at smokers looking to quit, Juul has proved very attractive to teenagers in the US. This has helped to prompt an international debate over whether the benefits of vaping for adult smokers outweigh the potential risks to young people who might otherwise not use a nicotine product.
E-cigarette use is supported by British public health agencies because research suggests these products are substantially less harmful than combustible tobacco. But some critics argue that youth access to Juul and other e-cigarettes should be prohibited. Before we succumb to fears that this new product will lead to widespread teen addiction, it is important to consider the context.
E-cigarettes are regulated differently in the UK and in the US. In the US, advertising of tobacco alternatives is widespread, whist in the UK, almost all forms of e-cigarette marketing are prohibited. A further difference is the nicotine content. Juul is sold with up to 50mg/ml nicotine in the US, whereas EU regulation limits it to 20mg/ml for all vaping products. Juul devices sold in the UK will have to comply with this limit, and this lower level of nicotine is likely to make the products less addictive.
Surveys have been tracking e-cigarette uptake in UK teenagers for years. One recent study we conducted pooled results from five surveys in 2016, involving more than 60,000 young people. It found that, although experimentation with existing e-cigarette models was not uncommon, regular vaping was almost entirely confined to young people who already smoked. In fact rates of regular use of e-cigarettes in non-smoking youth were less than 1%.”
Source: Financial Times, 24 July 2018
Opinion: Beware tobacco firm’s Trojan horse
Sandra Mullin (Senior vice-president, policy, advocacy and communication, Vital Strategies) claims Philip Morris’s overture to the NHS is part of a strategy to undermine tobacco control.
“Philip Morris International’s proposition to NHS bodies is not just a PR stunt – it’s part of a what looks like a strategy to undermine tobacco control, as leaked company papers seem to show.
Globally, PMI appears to be using e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products and its Foundation for a Smoke-Free World as Trojan horses in a strategy to drive a policy agenda that will suit its own business needs.
In our view, PMI is desperate to claim it is the critical element in reducing the harm caused by its own products and will no doubt use any link to the NHS to further its lobbying and marketing. Enabling it to co-opt the NHS would be a betrayal of everything the health service stands for.”
Source: Guardian, 22 July 2018
Europe: Clouds produced by e-cigarettes breakdown within seconds
A new study comparing vaping and smoking has found vaping has less of an impact on the surrounding air. While particles from cigarette smoke linger in the air for up to 45 minutes, researchers found that those stemming from e-cigarette products evaporate within seconds, even indoors. Even in the ‘worst case scenario,’ where there was no ventilation, the study found the particle count quickly returned to background levels.
Fontem Ventures, which is part of Imperial Brands, produced this research in collaboration with Kaunas University of Technology in Lithuania and the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, ETH Zurich.
Nicotine & Tobacco Research, Characterization of the Spatial and Temporal Dispersion Differences Between Exhaled E-Cigarette Mist and Cigarette Smoke
Source: Mail on Sunday, 23 July 2018
India: Take steps to prevent tobacco use on site, schools directed
The Delhi Government has issued guidelines to all schools in the capital requiring them to become “tobacco-free zones.”
The schools have been asked to nominate a health scheme officer to maintain their buildings as tobacco-free zones. “Tobacco-free zone” boards will have to be displayed at prominent places in school premises and “no smoking” signage boards will have to be displayed.
The schools have also been asked to give written notice to authorities if any tobacco product is sold within 100 meters of the school premises.
Source: The Pioneer, 24 July 2018
US e-cigarette group Juul launches in Britain
The San Francisco vaping start-up, Juul, launched in the UK on Tuesday, gaining access to the second-largest e-cigarette market in the world. Since launching in 2015, Juul now accounts for approximately 70% of all e-cigarette sales in the US.
The company has dedicated itself to eliminating “combustible cigarettes from the face of the earth”, and wants to help the £7.4 million smokers in the UK transition to less harmful forms of nicotine consumption and ultimately stop smoking altogether.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) in the UK, said: “e-cigarette use in the UK has stagnated since 2013, to the detriment of public health. If Juul takes off in the UK as it did in the US it could reboot the market and hasten the arrival of the smoke-free future we’re all hoping for.”
Source: Financial Times, 17 July 2018
Blackburn: Smokers supported to stop smoking on Hospital site
Senior figures at East Lancashire Hospitals Trust (ELHT) are offering smokers at Royal Blackburn Hospital support to help them quit.
Kevin McGee, chief executive of the ELHT, said: “What we now do is challenge in a very positive way anybody that does smoke and offer them support and offer them help. What I would say to anyone is to respect that this is a no smoking site.”
Source: This is Lancashire, 17 July 2018
Essex: Plastic box being used as an ashtray starts fire in block of flats
Fire crews have identified a plastic box being used as an ashtray as the cause of a small fire in a block of flats in Westbourne Grove, Essex.
No one was injured and smoke damage was limited to the stairwell where the box was located.
A spokesman from the fire service said: “This incident could have been worse if the fire had spread; cigarettes are the most deadly cause of house fires and this incident shows how important it is to ensure they are put right out in a suitable ashtray.”
Source: Echo News, 17 July 2018
Blackpool: Pregnant smokers to get vouchers as part of new Stop Smoking Service
Pregnant smokers in Blackpool could receive shopping vouchers and other incentives to give up smoking. This is one of a number of schemes being considered by health officials in the resort, which has a smoking in pregnancy rate of 27.8%, the highest in the UK.
The proposed new stop smoking service will offer more support to smokers to help them quit, including advice in leaflets and websites, advice on nicotine replacement therapies, and access to helplines in a bid to make the service more accessible.
Councillor Amy Cross, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for reducing health inequalities, said: “Supporting mothers-to-be to quit smoking during pregnancy helps give unborn children a good, healthy and fair start in life. Smoking during pregnancy is a major health problem and is associated with various adverse effects during pregnancy, including an increased risk of miscarriage, premature birth, low birthweight and stillbirth.”
Source: Blackpool Gazette, 17 July 2018
Sunderland: School pupils hope anti-smoking film will go viral
Pupils from Whitburn Church of England Academy in Sunderland, have produced an anti-smoking film they hope will go viral. The video was produced as part of a campaign led by South Tyneside Council and the Customs House Theatre who worked with students across the region to develop a creative campaign persuading peers to say no to smoking.
A 2017 borough health survey found smoking rates of 5% for Year 8 pupils (12-13) and 11% for Year 11 pupils (15-16), with 11% of primary school pupils stating that someone they live with smoked in the same room as them.
Councillor Tracey Dixon, lead member for independence and wellbeing, said: “Who better to lead the fight against tobacco than our creative young people! I think it’s fantastic that these students are leading the way in South Tyneside.”
Source: Sunderland Echo, 17 July 2018
India: Tobacco companies fight pictorial warnings in Supreme Court
Tobacco industry representatives have objected to a recent Supreme Court decision to increase the size of pictorial warnings on tobacco packaging from 40% of the pack size to 85%.
The Court’s decision was motivated by a petition to help consumers take informed choices when purchasing tobacco. One of the main advantages of pictorial warnings compared to warning messages is that they convey the dangers of tobacco to people who are illiterate.
The Court justified the policy on the grounds that: “[the government] want the pictorial message to be such that it would inform consumers about the evil effects of the product.”
Source: Times of India, 17 July 2018
Link of the Week
The more you smoke, the greater your risk of a heart rhythm disorder
A recent study published in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology has found that smoking more regularly increases the risk of a heart rhythm disorder called atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is the most common heart rhythm disorder and contributes to strokes and premature death.
The researchers from Imperial College London found a 14% increase in the risk of atrial fibrillation for every ten cigarettes smoked per day, with the risk increasing for every additional cigarette smoked.
Dr Dagfinn Aune, author of the study and postdoctoral researcher at Imperial College London, said: “Our results provide further evidence of the health benefits of quitting smoking and, even better, to never start smoking in the first place. This is important from a public health perspective to prevent atrial fibrillation and many other chronic diseases.”
Source: Science Daily, 12 July 2018
European Journal of Preventive Cardiology: Tobacco smoking and the risk of atrial fibrillation: A systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies
How to future-proof your heart against smoking related diseases
Coronary heart disease is the most common and most preventable form of heart disease, and is strongly linked to smoking.
Despite falling rates of mortality from heart disease, more people are living with it and suffering a serious range of health problems as a result.
Maureen Talbot, a cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “As older people are at an increased risk of heart disease anyway, because the risks increase with age, those who do smoke should stop as soon as they can.” She highlights the importance of the smoking ban in bringing smoking rates down and asserts that “quitting is probably the single biggest change you can make.”
Source: The Telegraph, 12 Jul 2018
Essex: E-cigarette shop in Clacton helps customers stop smoking
An e-cigarette shop in Clacton is working with Tendring Council and Essex County Council to support people who want to quit smoking.
The shop, Vaporever, is providing one-to-one support and e-cigarette interventions to help people switch from smoking to vaping, with the ultimate goal of overcome their tobacco addiction.
Lynda McWilliams, Tendring Council’s cabinet member for health and education, said: “I am pleased to support this initiative as part of our Livewell Campaign to help people becoming fitter and healthier in Tendring. We are working closely with our public health colleagues at Essex County Council to find innovative ways of helping people to quit smoking. I hope that smokers will use this service and ultimately kick the habit, in order to lead healthier and longer lives.”
Source: Clacton Gazette, 11 July 2018
India: Despite ban, cigarettes still sold near city schools
A study conducted by the Tamilnadu People’s Forum for Tobacco Control (TNPFTC), has uncovered extensive violations of India’s blanket ban on sale of cigarettes in the vicinity of educational institutions. The ban exists to prevent students from having easy access to tobacco products.
S. Cyril Alexander, state convener of the TNPFTC, said: “We had found 12 shops selling tobacco products around a popular private school”.
The TNPFTC found that many teachers were unaware of the ban, believing that only illegal tobacco products like gutka were banned.
Souce: Times of India, 13 July 2018
USA: Smoking will be banned in public housing nationwide at end of July
The US is set to implement a nationwide ban on smoking in public housing in order to reduce the prevalence of smoking related diseases. The ban will take effect on 31 July and affect over 940,000 housing units.
The new rules, enforced by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, will prohibit the use of cigarettes, cigars and pipes in all public housing units and common areas, as well as any outdoor area within 25 feet of public housing grounds.
Source: CBS News, 12 July 2018
Air China flight’s sudden descent linked to co-pilot vaping
China’s aviation regulator has attributed an emergency descent by an Air China aircraft to a co-pilot using an e-cigarette during the flight.
The Boeing 737 was flying to the Chinese city of Dalian from Hong Kong on July 10 when it deployed oxygen marks and dropped to 10,000 feet (3,048 m), before climbing again to continue to its destination.
State-owned China News reported: “In the preliminary investigation, the co-pilot was found to be using an e-cigarette. Vapour diffused into the passenger cabin and relevant air conditioning components were wrongly shut off, without notifying the captain, which resulted in insufficient oxygen.” This triggered an alarm and prompted the crew to perform an emergency pressure relief procedure, which then released the cabin’s oxygen masks.
Source: Reuters, 13 July 2018
Link of the Week
Change is in the air: Going smokefree the Northumbria way
Northumbria Healthcare is sharing learning from going smokefree, which the Trust achieved in March this year.
The presentations from the ‘Change is in the air’ conference can be downloaded and address the key challenges in implementing the Tobacco Control Plan for England, review the latest evidence on e-cigarettes, and provide information and guidance to support health practitioners in making their services smokefree.
Link of the week
Smokers trying to quit should use stronger e-cigarettes, to protect their health, experts say
Researchers from London South Bank University have found that smokers who want to switch to vaping may be better to start with higher, rather than lower, nicotine levels to reduce compensatory behaviour and the amount of e-liquid used.
Dr Lynne Dawkins, from London South Bank University, said: “Some vapers might believe that starting out on a low nicotine strength is a good thing. But they should be aware that reducing their nicotine concentration is likely to result in the use of more e-liquid”. This is because when trying get the same hit as a high-nicotine e-cigarette, you have to puff harder, and for longer which exposes people to higher levels of toxins, including formaldehyde – which is formed when the e-cigarette is heated.
Source: The Sun, 8 June 2018
Minister announces smoking ban in prisons has not caused unrest among prisoners
A smokefree ban is now in place in all 102 high and medium secure prisons across England and Wales with open prisons only allowing smoking in designated outside areas.
Rory Stewart, Prisons Minister said there was no evidence of a decline in safety to prisoners or staff, and that it had only contributed to some low level disorder and a small number of more serious incidents. Stewart said as smokefree prisons were rolled out the number of inmates using e-cigarettes have gone up, with 50,000 vaping products, including re-fill packs being bought every week.
Source: The Today Programme, BBC Radio 4, 8 June 2018
Starting time: 4 minutes 50 seconds
North East: Sustained efforts to go smokefree by Mental Health Trusts reap rewards for patients and staff
Research by Teesside University and Fuse, the Centre for Translational Research in Public Health, shows that the number of patients in mental health hospitals who smoke in the North East is falling thanks to a sustained approach by partner organisations.
In March 2016 two mental health trusts in the region; Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust and Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, went fully smoke free.
The report outlines figures from Public Health England which found there was a considerable drop in smoking prevalence recorded across both organisations. In one of the Trusts, clinical audit showed that the proportion of inpatients that smoked fell from 43% in 2015 to 21% in 2018.
The report also highlights the preliminary work undertaken to prepare for the smoke free policy and noted that both Trusts had prepared 18 months in advance and introduced a range of measures to aid successful implementation. This included training staff to give advice on quitting, appointing stop smoking advisers on every unit and providing patients with Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) within 30 minutes of admission.
Source: North East Connected, 8 June 2018
USA: Huge drop in teens smoking tobacco: Centre for Disease Control report reveals 20% drop in under-18s lighting up since 2011
Tobacco use is continuing to fall among children and teenagers in the US, an encouraging sign that the leading cause of preventable death in the US is finally falling out of fashion, a new report from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention reveals.
According to the report the number of middle and high school students that use tobacco products has fallen by 20% since 2011.
In the last five years, e-cigarette use, or vaping, has overtaken smoking as the favourite nicotine delivery system for students.
Source: Daily Mail, 7 June 2018
US: E-cigarette sellers turn to scholarships to promote brands
A growing number of e-cigarette sellers have started offering college scholarships as a way to get their brands listed on university websites.
The scholarships, ranging from $250 to $5,000, mostly involve essay contests that ask students to write about the dangers of tobacco or whether vaping could be a safer alternative. At least one company asks applicants to write about different types of e-cigarettes and which one they recommend.
Although some of the scholarships are limited to students 18 and older (the nation’s legal age to buy vaping products), many are open to younger teens or have no age limit.
Source: Mail Online, 8 June 2018
India: Philip Morris plans to target Indian smokers with IQOS device
Philip Morris International is planning to launch its iQOS (Heat not burn) smoking device in India, as the tobacco giant seeks a foothold in a country with the world’s second-biggest smoker population.
India has stringent laws to deter tobacco use, which the government says kills more than 900,000 people every year. But the country still has 106 million adult smokers, second only to China according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), making it a lucrative market for Philip Morris to target.
If Philip Morris are to persuade officials, it would need to convince a government that has in recent years raised cigarette taxes, ordered companies to print bigger health warnings on tobacco packs and launched a quit-smoking helpline.
Source: Reuters, 8 June 2018
Link of the week
Department of Health and Social Care publish ‘Delivery Plan’ for the Tobacco Control Plan for England
On the 7th June 2018, the Department for Health and Social Care released a ‘Delivery Plan’, setting out how the Tobacco Control Plan for England is to be delivered.
The delivery plan will monitor how the aims of the tobacco control plan for England are being met, setting out specific milestones and what is expected at national and local levels.