Study: Heated tobacco product claims by tobacco industry scrutinised by researchers
Claims by the tobacco industry that heated tobacco products (HTPs) are safer than conventional cigarettes may not be supported by the industry’s own data and are likely to be misunderstood by consumers, according to new research.
“Until now, most of the published research on HTPs had been done by tobacco companies,” said Glantz Stanton A. Glantz, director of the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education.
Source: Medical Express, 23 October 2018
Editorial note: a review of the evidence on heat not burn products by the UK Committee on Toxicology concluded that there was limited evidence in relation to these products but that there was likely to be some health harms from use, but those harms were likely to be lower than smoking.
USA: E-cigarette maker Juul boosts lobbying spend amid regulatory crackdown
Leading e-cigarette manufacturer Juul spent half a million dollars on lobbying (in the US) last quarter — up 167% from the previous quarter — as regulators consider restrictions on the industry to stem a perceived surge in American teens using the devices.
In quarter three, Juul spent $560,000, according to a lobbying disclosure form. That compares with the $210,000 it spent in the previous quarter, according to a filing. The company focused its efforts on e-cigarette and vaping regulation, as well as tariffs on products manufactured in China, it said in the disclosure.
Lawmakers, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, have urged the Food and Drug Administration to ban sweet nicotine flavours they say entice young people to use e-cigarettes. In September, FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb announced the agency would crack down against teen use that he said has reached “epidemic levels.”
Source: Yahoo Finance, 23 October 2018
Study: Flavoured ‘capsule cigarettes’ can lure susceptible smokers
New research adds to the body of evidence showing that young people are particularly vulnerable to tobacco companies’ product innovations.
The study examined young adults’ responses to flavour capsule cigarettes. When crushed, these capsules add a flavour (typically fruit or menthol) to the cigarette smoke inhaled; this type of cigarette can reduce the harshness of smoking.
In the study there were 425 smokers and 390 susceptible non-smokers*. The smokers preferred unflavoured cigarettes to the capsule flavours tested, while susceptible non-smokers showed the reverse pattern and preferred the flavoured capsule cigarettes to the unflavoured option. Susceptible non-smokers were more than three times as likely to choose a “fruit burst” or “pineapple and mango” flavour than an unflavoured cigarette.
See also: BMJ Tobacco Control , Young adult susceptible non-smokers’ and smokers’ responses to capsule cigarettes
*Susceptible non-smokers were respondents who had never smoked regularly but gave responses other than ‘Definitely would not’ or ‘Definitely will not’ when asked if they would smoke a cigarette offered to them by a friend or if they would smoke a cigarette in the next 12 months
Source: Scienmag, 23 October 2018
Belgian robbers asked to come back to vape shop, arrested on return
A group of would-be thieves were prevented from robbing a store in Belgium Saturday after the owner said he didn’t have enough money in the cash register and asked them to come back later.
The owner runs an e-cigarette shop on the outskirts of the Belgian city of Charleroi. He said six armed individuals walked into his store in the middle of the afternoon demanding money.
At 5:30 p.m. the group returned. Didier once again called their bluff and told the group it was still not closing time. “I berated them saying ‘you have to buy a watch.’ I said, ‘it’s 5:30 not 6:30,’ and they left,” he told RTL.
When the group returned for a third time, plain-clothes policemen were waiting to apprehend them. Five people were arrested, including a minor, according to local media. The sixth alleged offender ran away.
Source: BBC News, 23 October 2018
Kevin Barron Chair, Committee on Privileges
Will the Minister tell me whether the withdrawal of funding for the Healthy Futures programme in the north-west and Public Health Action in the south-west likely to help or hinder us meeting the smoking cessation targets in the tobacco control programme?
Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care
This comes back to the matter of public health budgets—£16 billion during the current spending review period, with local authorities best placed to make local decisions on what is needed in their local area. That is the same in the right hon. Gentleman’s area as it is in mine.
Source: Hansard, HC Deb, 23rd October 2018
Bob Blackman Conservative, Harrow East
The recent report from the Royal College of Physicians, “Hiding in plain sight: Treating tobacco dependency in the NHS”, made clear the cost savings and health benefits there would be if doctors identified smokers and referred them to smoking cessation services, so will next month’s plan include that, particularly for pregnant women and mental health patients?
Steve Brine, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care
As my hon. Friend, the chair of the all-party group on smoking and health, knows, those groups are key to delivering our tobacco control plan. We are not complacent at all; the delivery plan that was published in June sets out the actions that different agencies will take to deliver the five-year plan, and that absolutely includes mentor cessation services.
Source: Hansard, HC Deb, 23rd October 2018
Stirling study finds plain packaging led to price hike for branded tobacco
Research from Stirling University has revealed that small retailers in the UK inflated the prices of fully-branded tobacco products ahead of the introduction of standardised packaging.
Shops charged more than the RRP (recommended retail price) for fully-branded tobacco products as they became rarer, contrary to the advice of the tobacco industry who were concerned about customer loyalties shifting following the removal of fully-branded packaging.
Dr Nathan Critchlow, lead author of the study, said: “We found that…small retailers sold leading tobacco products higher than the RRPs. In particular, they increased prices above RRP for fully-branded packs as they were phased out – even those which had the prices marked on the packaging. Once the legislation became mandatory, small retailers continued to sell leading tobacco products above RRP. It is possible that they used product changes introduced under the policy, such as larger minimum pack size and removal of price marking, to opportunistically increase the profit from tobacco sales.”
Source: Central FM, 22 August 2018
Journal of Tobacco Control: Difference between recommended retail price and sales price for tobacco products in independent and convenience (small) retailers before and after the introduction of standardised tobacco packaging in the UK
Tax on vaping ruled out by ministers
Exchequer Secretary Robert Jenrick has written to the tobacco industry funded UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) to confirm that the government has no plans to tax e-cigarettes, stating that: “we have no current plans to introduce a new tax on vaping products.”
The letter also highlights that were e-cigarettes to be licenced as medicines and be available on prescription they could be eligible for a lower VAT rate.
Mr Jenrick said: “I recognise the contribution the vaping industry makes to the economy in terms of jobs and revenue to the Exchequer and welcome the fact the UK has a world leading vaping industry.”
Source: The Sun, 21 August 2018
Leicester: Hospital patients and visitors smoking in no-smoking areas
The wife of a patient at Glenfield Hospital has complained about people smoking outside her husband’s room and in no-smoking zones on hospital grounds, despite the presence of a number of designated smoking shelters.
Her husband, who has cystic fibrosis and is on a high-flow oxygen machine while he waits for a lung transplant, has been forced to keep the window of his room shut because of smokedrift from people smoking outside.
Sarah MacFadyen, head of policy at the British Lung Foundation, said: “People with a lung condition such as cystic fibrosis often find that passive smoking worsens their symptoms. This is why we support calls for all hospital grounds to be smoke-free zones.”
Source: Leicestershire Live, 21 August 2018
Opinion: Look out, cigarettes have a cool young rival
Anna Thomson considers the launch of Juul e-cigarettes in the UK following a recent report into e-cigarettes by the science and technology committee.
The US e-cigarette brand, Juul, makes up just over 70% of the US e-cigarette market and made more than $1.1 billion in profits over the past year. According to James Monsees, executive and board member at Juul, the purpose of their e-cigarette is to help traditional smokers cut down on their exposure to the wide range toxic and carcinogenic compounds found in regular cigarettes.
The popularity of the brand in the US has prompted debate about whether the health benefits of Juul e-cigarettes outweigh the risks of introducing a new generation to nicotine. Despite not being advertised to teens, Juuls have allegedly become popular in some US high schools, raising concerns about the brand’s appeal to teenagers.
Following the launch of Juul in the UK, MPs have recommended that regulations on the advertising, sale, taxation and use of vaping devices should be relaxed to encourage more smokers to switch to e-cigarettes.
Sales of e-cigarettes would still be prohibited to under-18s and current UK regulation is designed to inhibit uptake of e-cigarettes among young people.
Source: The Times, 22 August 2018
Israel bans Juul e-cigarettes citing public health risk
Israel has outlawed the import and sale of e-cigarettes produced by US manufacturer Juul Labs, citing public health concerns about their nicotine content.
Israel’s Health Ministry put out a statement attributing the ban to the high concentration of nicotine in Juul e-cigarettes, saying that the device poses “a grave risk to public health.”
The ban, which Juul is planning to appeal, comes into force on September 5.
Source: Reuters, 21 August 2018
Thailand: Phuket to launch anti-smoking campaign next month
The Thai city of Phuket is set to launch a major anti-smoking campaign next month to create a clean environment for local residents and raise public awareness about Thailand’s new Tobacco Control Act.
The campaign, which launches on September 23, will be joined by a number of public and private organisations, including Action on Smoking and Health Thailand.
Phuket City Municipality Mayor Somjai Suwannasuphobna, said today the campaign was developed out of concerns for the health of non-smokers and urged parents to set a good example for their children by not smoking.
Source: National News Bureau of Thailand, 22 August 2018
Scotland: New life breathed into Dumfries and Galloway smoking strategy
NHS Dumfries and Galloway’s Smoking Matters service is looking at new ways to improve its smoking cessation strategy, including using social media and virtual clinics to engage with smokers.
The service was tasked with helping at least 232 people in deprived areas quit smoking over the last twelve months. However, after nine months the service has only managed to help 126 people quit, prompting a review of its strategy.
It is estimated that £15-20 million is spent in the region each year treating tobacco-related illnesses.
Source: BBC, 3 August 2018
US: Juul reveals plans for smart Bluetooth e-cigarettes that prevent use among teenagers
US e-cigarette company, Juul, is planning to launch a Bluetooth enabled e-cigarette with an age verification system, to prevent teenagers from using its products.
The company has publicly acknowledged that schoolchildren in the US are using Juul e-cigarettes and is proposing a range of measures to ensure that future products cannot be used by anyone under the age of 18. The new e-cigarettes will use biometric data to prove a smoker’s age and won’t work near schools.
A Juul spokesperson said: “We are actively evaluating new technologies and features to help keep Juul out of the hands of young people.”
Source: Mail on Sunday, 2 August 2018
E-Cigarette Sales Have Surged Immensely in the US
New research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that sales of e-cigarettes in the US have risen significantly over the last few years, increasing by 126% between 2012 and 2016.
Rechargeable e-cigarettes such as the Juul brand were the most popular type with sales increasing by 154% and average prices nearly halving between 2012 and 2016.
Brian King, senior author of the study and a deputy director in the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health, said: “It’s ultimately reflective of the changing landscape, and we’re seeing more of these pod mod devices such as Juul that are now entering the marketplace. It just reinforces the importance [for] us as a public health community to ensure that we’re considering the diversity of different e-cigarette products … so we can implement evidence-based strategies to ensure we’re preventing public health harm.”
Source: US News, 2 August 2018
Chinese tobacco regulators call for control on e-cigarettes
Chinese tobacco regulators are calling for more education and control on e-cigarettes, following several high profile examples of people using them in places where they are prohibited, including in the cockpit of an airoplane.
There are currently no national regulations applying to e-cigarettes but authorities in some Chinese cities, including Hangzhou City in east China’s Zhejiang Province, have ceased to make any distinction between vaping and smoking.
Zhang Jianshu, president of the Beijing Tobacco Control Association, said: “We are currently calling for relevant departments to look into regulation for standardized control on e-cigarettes.”
Source: CGTN, 2 August 2018
Netherlands: Plans to ban smoking on multiple Rotterdam streets
Officials in Rotterdam are considering banning smoking on multiple streets in the area around a local hospital and two educational institutions. The ban would make Rotterdam the first municipality in the Netherlands to ban smoking for entire streets.
Erasmus MC, the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences and the Erasmiaans Gymnasium – which are all based in the same part of the city – sent a letter to Rotterdam Mayor, Ahmed Aboutaleb, asking him to implement the ban to prevent smokers just moving onto neighbouring streets.
A spokesperson for the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences said: “We have trouble with dumped cigarette butts and are thinking about the health of the 30 thousand students, pupils, patients and employees who are here on a daily basis.”
Source: Nl Times, 3 August 2018
US: Hookah smoking raises cardiovascular risk comparable to traditional cigarette smoking, study finds
A new study published in the American Journal of Cardiology has found that just a half-hour of hookah smoking resulted in the development of cardiovascular risk factors similar to what has been seen with traditional cigarette smoking.
Hookah is exempt from the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act which prohibits the use of artificial or natural flavours in cigarettes. This is thought to contribute to hookah’s popularity among young people and college students.
Mary Rezk-Hanna, lead author of the study, said: “We know that flavoured tobacco products are frequently the first kind of tobacco product used by youth. One of the major issues with hookah is the fact that the tobacco is flavoured with fruit, candy and alcohol flavours, making hookah the most popular flavoured tobacco product among this audience. Our findings challenge the concept that fruit-flavoured hookah tobacco smoking is a healthier tobacco alternative. It is not.”
Source: Medical Xpress, 3 August 2018
American Journal of Cardiology: Acute Effect of Hookah Smoking on Arterial Stiffness and Wave Reflections in Adults Aged 18 to 34 Years of Age
Maternity units ‘could prevent 600 stillbirths a year in England’
A recent evaluation of maternity guidance in the NHS has found that around 600 stillbirths a year could be avoided if practical steps, including reducing smoking in pregnancy, were more widely implemented.
According to the evaluation conducted by the University of Manchester, implementation of the ‘Saving Babies Lives Care Bundle’ saved the lives of more than 160 babies over a two-year period.
Matt Hancock, the health secretary, said: “We still have more to do but these results demonstrate really positive progress towards our ambition to halve the rates of stillbirth, neonatal death and maternal death by 2025.”
Source: The Guardian, 29 July 2018
Juul’s UK launch raises questions
The popular US e-cigarette brand, Juul, has launched in the UK. Public Health England hope that the availability of Juul e-cigarettes will help the UK’s 7.5 million adult smokers switch from conventional cigarettes to significantly less harmful e-cigarettes.
However, the reported popularity of Juul e-cigarettes among US teenagers has triggered concerns over the susceptibility of British schoolchildren to the product. In response, the company has promised to implement stringent age checks in shops selling the product and will require ID checks for online purchases. British regulation also demands that Juul pods must be less than half their US strength and significantly restricts the amount of advertising the company is allowed to employ.
Hazel Cheeseman, of the public health charity ASH, said that there was “reason for optimism” about Juul’s introduction to the UK market. “It is a product that has potential to have mass appeal,” she said, notably to the 40 per cent of smokers who have not yet tried vaping.
Source: The Times, 28 July 2018
Rightwing UK thinktank ‘offered ministerial access’ to potential US donors
A recording has emerged showing Mark Littlewood, director of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), offering potential US donors access to British government ministers and civil servants. The IEA, which describes itself as the UK’s original free-market thinktank, is currently campaigning for a clean-break Brexit.
The recording was produced by Unearthed, an investigations unit set up by Greenpeace amid concerns about the IEA’s role in using Brexit to lower environmental standards.
In the video, Littlewood states that his organisation is in “the Brexit influencing game”, and claims the IEA could make introductions to senior ministers. As a registered educational charity the IEA is not allowed to engage in political lobbying, and these comments will likely raise questions about the thinktank’s independence and status.
Source: The Guardian, 30 July 2018
Study suggests non-smoking teens using e-cigarettes
A recent study of four schools in Warwickshire found that of 11.4% (57) of 11-16 year olds who had ever used an e-cigarette, nearly 53% were non-smokers. Just under 40% of the teenagers in the study did not know that e-cigarettes contained nicotine or that they were addictive. The authors of the study are calling for more education about e-cigarettes.
However, they acknowledge that caution is needed when interpreting the results due to the small sample size.
Source: Mail Online, 30 July 2018
Editorial Note: This study surveyed 499 students. The results, which found 15 students who had never smoked but were currently using an e-cigarette, should be seen in the context of larger representative studies. Bauld et al (2017) analysed data covering 60,000 11-16 year olds and found rates of regular e-cigarette use of between 0.1% and 0.5% among non-smokers.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health: Young People’s Use of E-Cigarettes across the United Kingdom: Findings from Five Surveys 2015-2017
Sunderland to reform Tobacco Control Alliance
Following the publication of new figures showing that Sunderland has the second highest number of adult smokers in England, health leaders have agreed to reform the Sunderland Tobacco Alliance to tackle smoking in the borough.
The data published by Public Health England shows that the smoking rate in Sunderland rose to 22.7% in 2017, bucking the national trend of steadily declining smoking rates.
The current target endorsed by Sunderland’s Health and Wellbeing Board (HWB) is a smoking prevalence of 5% by 2025.
Source: Chronicle Live, 30 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