Brexit: How ‘no deal’ could change tobacco warnings
The government has announced that the current graphic warnings on cigarette packets will be replaced by Australian versions in the event that the UK leaves the EU with ‘no-deal’. The current set of images will potentially need to be replaced after Brexit because the copyright is owned by the European Commission.
According to the Department of Health and Social care: [In the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit] “manufacturers will need to ensure that tobacco products produced from exit day onwards feature new picture warnings, which have been secured by agreement with the Australian government. Tobacco products featuring pictures from the EU library, produced before exit day, may be sold for 12 months after exit day.”
Source: BBC, 9 October 2018
Daily Bulletin 2: Framework Convention Alliance at the WHO FCTC Meeting of the Parties
Today is Day 2 of the Meeting of the Parties (MOP) to the Illicit Trade Protocol (ITP). Today’s bulleting discusses the involvement of the tobacco industry in the illicit trade of tobacco and the challenge of implementing Article 12 of the FCTC in ‘Free Zones’.
The bulletin also includes a story on the success of the UK’s anti-smuggling strategy:
“The UK Government held its nerve and continued to increase taxes, while implementing a tough anti-smuggling strategy, which included strict supply chain controls and financial sanctions very much along the lines of the Protocol. Between 2000 and 2016, the last year for which there are figures, the size of the illicit market for cigarettes fell by nearly 60 per cent from 17 to 7 billion sticks, with revenue losses down from US$3.67 billion to US$2.36 billion (at current exchange rates). Illicit trade is a major and growing global problem but the lesson from the UK is clear. The Illicit Trade Protocol can help countries raise taxes, increase revenues and drive down smoking prevalence.”
Ireland: Tax rise on cigarettes in budget
The Irish government has published their Budget for 2019 which includes a €0.50 increase in the excise tax on cigarettes.
This follows a recent survey showing high levels of public support for higher taxes on cigarettes. Amarách Research surveyed over 1000 adults and found that 71% of people want the cost of cigarettes to be increased by €5 in the 2019 budget and the extra money to be ring-fenced for cancer treatment.
Source: Irish Times, 9 October 2018
See also: Most people want cost of cigarettes increased by fiver to fund cancer treatments
Barnsley: Increasing numbers of smokers quit following intensive work by health officials
New figures released by the Office of National Statistics show that Barnsley achieved a 2.4 per cent reduction in adult smoking rates in 2016-17. The smoking rate fell from 20.6 per cent in 2016 to 18.2 per cent in 2017, exceeding a target to reduce levels to 20 per cent.
Barnsley Council is working to help existing smokers quit and to ensure that children and young people are not tempted by tobacco use, by making parks and school grounds voluntary smokefree zones and discouraging parents from smoking when they drop off or collect children from school.
Kaye Mann, Barnsley Council’s senior health improvement officer, said: “Evidence tells us that is the best way to stop them from smoking, to denormalise it. When they don’t see it as normal to do so, they don’t start. As well as getting the current generation to quit, it is about stopping people taking it up. The aim so to create a smoke free generation by 2025.”
Source: The Star, 5 July 2018
Peers and parents may have influenced drop in childhood smoking
A recent study has found that socioeconomic status and parental/peer behaviour are strongly linked to the risk of childhood smoking.
Researchers at Pennsylvania State University in University Park analysed data from two groups of UK children, one born in 1970 and the other born 2000-2002. They found that 14.5 per cent of the 1970 cohort had smoked at last one cigarette by age 10-11, while that was true for only 2.4 percent of the 2000-2002 cohort.
Two of the biggest factors influencing smoking rates for the 2000-2002 cohort were educational backgrounds and smoking prevalence among the children’s mothers. The authors of the study state that: “childhood smoking in today’s young people in the UK is now more strongly linked to early life disadvantages compared to a generation ago.”
Source: Reuters, 11 July 2018
USA: Research suggests E-cigarette flavourings may have adverse health effect
A study at Boston University has found that electronic cigarette liquids sweetened with flavourings like clove and vanilla may damage cells in the blood vessels and heart even when they don’t contain nicotine.
Researchers applied common e-cigarette flavourings to samples of endothelial cells, which line arteries and veins as well as the inside of the heart. Five common flavours, including mint and cinnamon, impaired production of nitric oxide which could contribute to an increased risk of heart disease or strokes.
Source: Reuters, 11 July 2018
Editorial Note: The study concludes that short-term exposure to flavours may have relevance to cardiovascular issues. The researchers note that more serious issues such as cell death were induced only at high concentrations unlikely to be achieved under normal conditions of use.
Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology: Flavorings in Tobacco Products Induce Endothelial Cell Dysfunction
Ireland: Young filmmakers lift prize for anti-smoking film
A group of young people representing Nenagh Training Centre in Tipperary have come second in the Short Film Competition Senior Category at this year’s Irish Cancer Society X-HALE Youth Awards 2018.
The group’s short film entitled ‘Get off the Nicotine Road’, was among a number of other anti-tobacco films produced as part of the event which aimed to raise awareness about the harm caused by tobacco. According to recent statistics produced by Healthy Ireland, 16 per cent of Irish children aged nine or older have smoked cigarettes in their lifetime and 6 per cent are classified as current smokers.
Donal Buggy, head of services at the Irish Cancer Society, said that young people “have a vital role to play on the journey to Ireland becoming a tobacco-free country”.
Source: Tipperary Star, 12 July 2018
Link of the week
Liam Fox caught in fresh “lobbyists as advisers” scandal
Transparency campaigners have accused International Trade Minister Liam Fox of “having trouble again seeing the line between adviser and privately-backed lobbyist” after it emerged that one of Fox’s key advisors has also become an advisor to one of the UK’s biggest corporate lobbying firms. Shanker Singham, who recently joined the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), is now a senior adviser to the trade minister.
Singham is a member of Liam Fox’s ‘committee of experts’, a five-person group advising him on trade deals. Singham, a one-time Washington lobbyist, is director of the International Trade and Competition Unit at the IEA.
Hazel Cheeseman, director of policy at the campaign group Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), said: “The Institute for Economic Affairs has long acted as a paid lobbying agency for the tobacco industry. It’s very worrying to see one of their staff playing such a key role in shaping Britain’s trade deals as we leave the EU.”
Source: Open Democracy, 21 June 2018
Warwickshire raids find 15,000 illicit cigarettes
Almost 15,000 cigarettes and more than 9kg of hand rolling tobacco were seized in raids on shops carried out by Warwickshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service, supported by Warwickshire Police and Border Force.
Tobacco sniffer dogs were used to hunt for counterfeit and non-duty paid cigarettes and tobacco hidden in corner shops, mini supermarkets and parked vehicles. Officers used local intelligence to identify shops where cheap illegal cigarettes were being sold.
Andy Crump, Warwickshire County councillor, said: “The sellers of cheap illegal cigarettes don’t care who they sell to, making it easier for children and young people to obtain cigarettes and get hooked on smoking and making it harder for adults to quit.”
Source: Talking Retail, 21 June 2018
Ireland: Offer e-cigarettes to help smokers quit, says senator
Catherine Noone, a Fine Gael senator has urged the government to develop their policy on e-cigarettes, to reduce the number of smokers in Ireland.
The Department of Health has said it does not have enough evidence to recommend vaping as part of the Tobacco Free Ireland programme. The initiative aims to reduce smoking from the current rate of 22% to under 5% by 2025.
Noone pointed out that England and Scotland have policies that recommend e-cigarettes.
She said: “I’m known for having nanny state policies on alcohol, sugar and things like that, so I’m not in favour of e-cigarettes really. I think they look a bit ridiculous but they help people quit smoking and we need to develop a policy that recognises that. They [government] said there is not enough evidence but neighbouring countries that support their use have the same evidence. If we want people to stop smoking we have to help them any way we can and if e-cigarettes work, we need to offer them.”
Source: The Times, 22 June 2018
PQ1: Tobacco Control Plan
Kevin Barron Chair, Committee on Standards, Chair, Committee on Privileges
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his Department’s single departmental plan, for what reason the intention to work with Public Health England to deliver the new Tobacco Control Plan under Objective 1.1 was removed in the update of 23 May 2018.
Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care
The Single Departmental Plan published on 23 May 2018 is a concise summary of the highest level objectives for the financial year 2018-19 rather than a comprehensive account of all the activities the Department is planning to undertake. The fact that a commitment or activity has not been included in the summary does not imply that there is no intention to work on it.
The Government is continuing to reduce harm caused by tobacco. Last year we published a new tobacco control plan to build on that success and on 7 June 2018 we published a delivery plan setting out actions for meeting the aims of the tobacco control plan and how progress will be monitored. A copy of the delivery plan is available at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/tobacco-control-plan-delivery-plan-2017-to-2022
Source: Hansard, 21 June 2018
PQ2: Effect of plain cigarette packaging
Royston Smith Conservative, Southampton, Itchen
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the introduction of plain cigarette packaging on smoking.
Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care
The Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations 2015 came into force on 20 May 2016. It is too soon to effectively evaluate the impact of this legislation. However, the Government is committed to completing and publishing a full post-implementation review before 20 May 2021 and to publishing subsequent reports at intervals not exceeding five years.
Source: Hansard, 21 June 2018
Link of the week
Scottish Government’s latest Tobacco-Control action plan
The Scottish Government recently launched their latest Tobacco-Control plan. It’s an ambitious document where they recommit to their aim of creating a ‘tobacco-free’ generation by 2034.
Source: Scottish Government
Yorkshire councils issued just one fine in first two years of ban on smoking in cars carrying children
Only one person in Yorkshire and the Humber was fined in the first two years after it became illegal to smoke in cars carrying a child, a new analysis has found. An investigation by The Yorkshire Post uncovered confusion among local authorities about just who is responsible for enforcing the legislation
Barnsley Council became the only authority in the region to take formal enforcement action when it issued a single fine last year, the second year of the ban.
Scott Crosby, who leads Public Health England’s work on smoking in the region, stressed that tobacco smoke seriously harms young lungs. “The law sent a clear message to people that it is not acceptable to harm children in that way. For health, the measure of success is the change to attitudes and behaviour, not the number of enforcement actions.” he said.
Chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health Deborah Arnott said: “Compliance with the legislation on smoking in cars with children is dependent on the level of public support not enforcement action. And people are complying with this popular law which protects children from the harm caused by secondhand smoke.”
Source: Yorkshire Post, 9 June 2018
Yorkshire: Smoke-Free Sideline Policy For All Local Junior Football Games
The side-lines of all junior football games played in Beverley, Hull and the East Riding will go smokefree when the new season begins in September.
Partners including Hull & District Youth Football League, East Riding Girls League, Hull City Council, East Riding Council, and East Riding Football Association – which covers Hull – have teamed up to promote healthy lifestyles.
At its AGM in May, the Hull & District Youth Football League proposed a rule change to implement the smoke-free policy, which was passed. From September, all parents, coaches and other supporters will be asked not to smoke on the side-lines of games, or within sight of children.
Source: HU17, 10 June 2018
Warwickshire: Leamington shop owner fined after selling illicit cigarettes
The owner of a Leamington shop has been fined after being caught selling illicit cigarettes by an undercover officer.
Following a tip-off that illegal cigarettes and tobacco were being sold at Canal Mini Market on Clemens Street in Leamington, an undercover Trading Standards officer from Warwickshire County Council visited the store and purchased a packet of Richmond cigarettes for £4.
Trading Standards officers returned the next day with sniffer dogs and seized 87 packets of cigarettes and 27 packets of hand rolling tobacco. None of the tobacco or cigarettes were in standardised packaging and most did not carry the appropriate health warnings.
At Nuneaton Justice Centre on Tuesday June 5, Mr Kawa Rashid Sulaiman, 32, of Foleshill Road, owner of Canal Mini Market, pleaded guilty to 20 offences under the Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations 2015 and the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016. He was fined £210 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £1640 and a £30 victim surcharge, a total of £1880.
Source: Leamington Courier, 8 June 2018
Ireland: Stand-off between judge and Revenue drags out John Daly tobacco case
A District Court judge and Revenue are in a stand-off over the fate of a Fine Gael minister’s brother who has pleaded guilty to selling illegally imported cigarettes.
John Daly, brother of the junior health minister Jim Daly, has admitted having illegal tobacco for sale in his shop without having paid the necessary duty.
The case has been before the judge Mary Dorgan on at least three occasions since October, but she has repeatedly asked Revenue to reconsider whether it wants Daly to be convicted. Dorgan, a former solicitor, was appointed to the judiciary last year.
Daly runs a shop and post office in Drinagh, County Cork. Malachy Boohig, a state solicitor, told Dorgan in October that Revenue had discovered 680 cigarettes and 300g of tobacco on sale in Daly’s shop in November 2016 without the normal customs duty paid. The loss to the state was €400.
The Times, 10 June 2018