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’
Tyne and Wear: South Tyneside’s NHS staff urged to lead the way by quitting smoking
Staff at South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust are being encouraged to give up once and for all as part of a bid to become a completely smokefree organisation.
According to figures from Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), the estimated annual cost of smoking to the NHS in South Tyneside is about £7.1 million a year.
The Trust is therefore offering a support programme for NHS staff, as well as their friends and family, recognising the vital role loved ones can play. They will have access to a full range of products, including patches and gum, and medications such as Champix and Zyban.
South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust medical director Dr Shaz Wahid said “We are working closely with our local partners to get us to the point of becoming fully smokefree and, as part of this, we want to give our staff and patients all the tools and support we can to help them to stop smoking.
Source: The Shields Gazette, 14 June 2018
Lancashire: Cash and illegal tobacco seized in raids on shop and house
More than £100,000 of unaccounted-for cash plus a stash of illegal tobacco has been seized in a joint Trading Standards and police raid. Lancashire County Council Trading Standards and Lancashire Police seized the tobacco from a shop in Nelson town centre, and the £100,000 cash in bags from a house in the town. Officers served three warrants, all in the Nelson area, after tracking a supply ring operating in the town. More than 680 tobacco packs, with a retail value of around almost £4,000 were seized from a locked hiding place.
Three men and a woman are currently under investigation, and checks into the supply chain are continuing. The traders involved face possible prosecution by Trading Standards in relation to offences under the Trade Marks Act 1994 and The Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016.
Source: Burnley Express, 13 June 2018
Tobacco industry peruse control over anti-smuggling measures
A detailed study from the Tobacco Control Research Group at the University of Bath, using a range of sources including internal documents and whistleblower testimony, claims the tobacco industry is now going to elaborate lengths to control the global “track and trace” system that the United Nations has said must be put in place to counter smuggling.
Tobacco companies complain about the smuggling of cheap illegally-made copies of their brands, but two-thirds of the illicit tobacco market is made up of genuine product, says the study published in the journal Tobacco Control. “At best, evidence indicates that tobacco companies are failing to control their supply chain, over-producing in some markets (eg Ukraine) and oversupplying others (eg Belgium) in the knowledge their products will end up on the illicit market,” says the paper.
Professor Anna Gilmore, lead author of the paper in the journal Tobacco Control, said: “This has to be one of the tobacco industry’s greatest scams: not only is it still involved in tobacco smuggling, but big tobacco is positioning itself to control the very system governments around the world have designed to stop companies from smuggling. The industry’s elaborate and underhand effort involves front groups, third parties, fake news and payments to the regulatory authorities meant to hold them to account.”
Source: The Guardian, 14 June 2018
Rt Hon George Howarth, MP Labour, Knowsley
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress his Department has made with Public Health England Tobacco Implementation Board on implementing the recommendations of the Independent Cancer Taskforce; on what date his Department has held meetings with that Board; and who attended those meetings.
Steve Brine, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health and Primary Care
The ‘Tobacco Control Plan for England: Towards a smoke-free generation’, published in July 2017, takes into account the recommendations of the Independent Cancer Taskforce, and focuses on reducing smoking prevalence within priority groups such as people with mental health conditions, people in routine and manual occupations and pregnant women, tackling the associated health inequalities.
A special meeting of the Public Health England Tobacco Control Implementation Board was held on 20 December 2017 to discuss the Plan. I chaired the meeting which was attended by representatives of the Department, Public Health England and key stakeholders including Cancer Research UK, the Royal College of Physicians, British Medical Association, British Thoracic Society, Action on Smoking and Health and the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies.
Source: Hansard HC, 13 June 2018
Lancashire: Smoking warning issued after two grass fires
Following call outs on Sunday 20th May, fire crews have issued a warning for people to be careful of moorland fires, especially at this time of the year, and make sure they safely dispose of cigarettes.
Watch manager Chris Howarth said: “The fire service would urge people to take extra care at this time of year with regard to cigarettes and smoking materials. Due to the current good weather, the risk of fires around the moors is significantly higher than usual. Grass fires can have a detrimental impact on the environment and local communities and can significantly drain the resources of the fire service.”
Source: Lancashire Telegraph, 21 May 2018
Oxford: Smoking in bed causes flat fire
Residents in the property escaped with minor smoke inhalation after being alerted by smoking alarms. Crew manager Lewis Sigsworth said: “It is very important that people are aware of the dangers of smoking in bed and the need to have working smoke alarms.”
Source: Oxfordshire Guardian, 22 May 2018
Leicester: City Council find illegal tobacco
Illegal cut price and counterfeit cigarettes have been seized by the council’s trading standards officers in recent months.
Trading standards officers at Leicestershire County Council and Leicester City Council using sniffer dogs have found tobacco hidden in secret compartments in shops.
Karen Retallic, of Leicestershire County Council’s trading standards team, said her team “found illegal products worth an estimated £46,000, in 10 premises in the year to April this year. We’ve found them under the floorboard, in the ceiling and in cavities hidden by electrical wiring. We would urge smokers to think twice before knowingly supporting the illegal tobacco trade for the sake of cheaper cigarettes.”
Source: The Hinckley Times, 22 May 2018
Health ministers make bold commitments at Geneva summit to tackle NCD’s
At the 30th Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting in Geneva, government representatives endorsed a series of bold proposals, including:
1.100% smoke free public spaces
2. 20% sugar tax on drinks
3. Immunisations for all girls aged 9-13 against cervical cancer by 2025
4. One-stop crisis centres for victims of gender-based violence
5. Creation of a Commonwealth Evidence Base for Cancer Control; and an acceleration of universal health coverage (UHC).
Addressing a packed room of ministers, delegates and observers, Secretary-General Scotland said, “This year’s meeting enables us to focus on fully playing our part as the Commonwealth in mobilising to tackle the growing crisis of non-communicable diseases (NCD’S), which is causing devastation in all our member countries, and affecting with particular severity small island developing states and low and middle-income countries.”
NCDs account for around ten million deaths across the Commonwealth every year, with seven million of these due to the leading causes such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers, respiratory disease and diabetes.
Source: The Commonwealth, 21 May 2018
Second-hand smoke exposes Thais to health risks
Around 17.3 million people in Thailand are victims of second-hand smoking at home, with a prolonged daily exposure of 30 minutes imposing a greater risk of cardiovascular problems and strokes, Dr Prakit Vathesatogkit, head of Action on Smoking and Health Foundation said yesterday.
In a Bangkok media conference ahead of May 31’s World No Tobacco Day, Prakit cited a WHO report finding that 2,615 Thais died yearly from coronary heart disease or strokes triggered by smoking, with victims as young as 21 to 25 years old. These people were among 6,500 Thais who die from second-hand smoke-triggered health complications each year, he said.
Prakit has urged Thai authorities to strictly enforce the Tobacco Product Control Act 2017 which discourages smoking in prohibited zones to protect non-smokers.
Source: The Nation, 22 May 2018