Link of the week
Norfolk: Shop owner admits selling counterfeit cigarettes from Great Yarmouth shop
A shop owner has admitted selling fake cigarettes after raids at his Great Yarmouth store uncovered hundreds of illegal products.
The defendant appeared at Norwich Crown Court nearly 5 years after searches of the shop found 110 pouches of tobacco and 205 packets of cigarettes on March 1, 2013. The owner was cautioned but, after a second search uncovered 158 packets of cigarettes and 53 pouches of tobacco on April 10 2013, he was charged with unauthorised use of a trademark. The defendant was arrested after returning from Iraq in January 2018.
Source: Eastern Daily Press, 4 October 2018
Daily Bulletin 5: Framework Convention Alliance at the WHO FCTC conference of the parties
Today is the last full day of the COP8 negotiations in Geneva and the bulletin highlights the final flurry of work needed to conclude this year’s conference.
Deborah Arnott, ASH, and Laura Hucks, Cancer Research UK, have written an article for the final bulletin. They highlight the leadership that Australia and the UK have contributed to the FCTC and the funding that both countries have pledged to provide.
“At COP7 the UK launched its FCTC 2030 project, providing 5 years funding from its aid budget to the Convention Secretariat, specifically to support low and middle-income Parties to achieve Sustainable Development Goal target 3.a. This is the target that calls for a strengthening of implementation of the FCTC.
Two years on, Australia has joined the UK in funding the project, providing a great example for other Parties to follow. This financial support is focused on the achievement of the general obligations and the time bound measures of the Convention, strengthening tobacco taxation, implementing other articles of the WHO FCTC according to national priorities, and building strong links to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”
Australia: senior advisor to former prime minister lobbying for PMI, but role ‘invisible’ under lobbying regime
A former senior adviser to ex-PM Tony Abbott is working as an in-house lobbyist for the tobacco giant Philip Morris, but flaws with the lobbying rules mean he is invisible to the oversight regime covering federal parliament.
Murray Cranston was a long-time adviser to Abbott, including during the Liberal MP’s time as health minister and opposition leader, and in the lead-up to his successful 2013 election campaign. Cranston is not listed on the federal register of lobbyists, the public’s only window into the world of lobbying.
This is because Australia’s lobbying rules do not cover individuals who work directly for a company like Philip Morris as in-house lobbyists. They only cover third-party or consultant lobbyists, who work for a professional lobbying firm and are engaged by another company to act on its behalf.
The failure of the federal system to cover in-house lobbyists has been widely criticised. Even the body representing lobbyists, the Australian Professional Government Relations Association, wants change.
Source: The Guardian, 4 October 2018
USA: Juul files lawsuit against ‘Copy-Cat Products’ marketing to underage users
E-cigarette company Juul Labs filed a complaint on Wednesday with the U.S. International Trade Commission alleging that 18 companies have infringed on the company’s patents. The lawsuit claims that the listed companies “blatantly emulated the distinctive design” and urges the ITC to stop these products from being imported and sold on the US market.
Most of the companies listed in the lawsuit are located in the U.S. and China with one other based in France. Juul filed a similar lawsuit earlier this year against 30 companies in China for allegedly selling counterfeit Juul products on eBay. According to the lawsuit, the companies were using the Juul design or name brand to sell the products.
The latest lawsuit comes days after the FDA conducted a surprise inspection on the Juul headquarters in San Francisco, where it seized “thousands of pages of documents” related to how the company markets its products. The FDA earlier this month described Juul’s popularity among teens as an “epidemic.”
Source: Fortune, 4 October 2018
Link of the week
Public Health England Commissioning Support Pack: Alcohol, drugs and tobacco
This commissioning support guidance will help commissioners and local authorities develop strategies to reduce the harm caused by smoking, drinking, substance misuse in both adults and children.
For each of these topics, there are a set of good practice principles and indicators or questions to help local areas assess need and plan and commission effective services and interventions.
Just one in 10 of us will be smokers in 2023, say health officials
Health officials have estimated that just 1 in 10 people will be smokers in five years’ time. Public Health England (PHE) said that smoking rates among adults in England are expected to fall from the current level of 14.9% to around 10% by 2023. The number of smokers in England has already fallen by more than a million since 2014, it added.
The estimate comes as PHE launched its annual Stoptober campaign, encouraging smokers to quit in October. The campaign will see the introduction of a free online personal quit plan service, which provides smokers with a suggested combination of support based on their level of tobacco dependency and what quitting support they have used previously. It will be available from Thursday ahead of the official start of the campaign on the 1st of October. PHE estimates that of the 6.1 million smokers in England, around six in 10 want to quit.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of health charity ASH (Action on Smoking and Health), said: “There are almost as many different ways of quitting as there are smokers, but to succeed smokers need motivation. ASH is delighted to see Stoptober is back on TV with a new ad campaign, which will raise awareness and provide valuable additional encouragement for smokers trying to quit with Stoptober.”
Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “Councils remain committed to helping smokers quit, however this is made all the more difficult by the Government’s reductions to the public health budget, which councils use to fund stop-smoking services. We have long argued that this is a short-term approach which will only compound acute pressures for NHS services further down the line.”
Stoptober, Personal Quit Plan
The Telegraph, Smoking will be ‘eradicated in England by 2030’
BBC, ‘Don’t go cold turkey’ to quit smoking
Rye & Battle Observer, Smokers in East Sussex urged to kick the habit during Stoptober
Viking FM, Stoptober returns to Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire
Downs Mail, Increase your chances of quitting smoking with national campaign
Hartlepool Mail, Smoking-related hospital admissions in Hartlepool hit eight year high
Source: Free Press, 20 September 2018
Public health campaigns “incredibly good value for money”
Investing money in the Stoptober campaign leads to better results, says Professor Robert West, who was involved in the evaluation of the campaign in its first year. The review into the first Stoptober campaign estimated that it generated an additional 350,000 quit attempts, and led to a “significant increase in the quit attempt rate in that specific month compared to other months of the year,” according to Professor West.
Professor West said that public health campaigns are “incredibly good value for money in terms of public health benefit.” However, he also stated “it’s always a battle for the people in Public Health England (PHE) to get agreements for funding to do it.”
An official report evaluating the 2016 Stoptober campaign sets out a significant drop in media spend for the campaign. The PHE document found “In 2016, competing priorities led to a significant budget reduction for Stoptober. Most notably, media spend was reduced from £3.1 million in 2015 to £390,000 in 2016.”
Source: Basingstoke Gazette, 20 September 2018
North East: Quitting smoking saves thousands of pounds
With the help of an e-cigarette, South Shields mum Deborah Davison gave up cigarettes in January after 40 years of smoking. Deborah says she has noticed significant improvements to her health and has already saved over £2,000.
Deborah said, “Generally, I feel much better and a number of people have noticed a difference in me. With the money I’ve saved I’ve been able to buy things for my grandchildren without waiting for pay day to come around and when my son started a new job and needed a new bus pass, I was able to buy it for him. I have helped my daughter purchase school uniforms for her children and it’s great to be able to support them. I’m planning to treat myself next year and go on holiday to somewhere hot and exotic.”
Councillor Tracey Dixon, lead member for independence and wellbeing at South Tyneside Council, said, “The number of people smoking in the Borough has reduced in the last five years but it is a sad statistic that almost 400 people still die in South Tyneside each year as a result of smoking. Quitting smoking is the single biggest thing you can do to improve your health and Stoptober is the perfect time to make that resolution to quit. While we would urge people to seek out the support of stop smoking services, vaping can also be an effective tool in helping people to kick the habit.”
Source: The Shields Gazette, 20 September 2018
US: Most citizens are still misinformed about e-cigarettes
A recent poll from Rasmussen found that 50% of Americans believe vaping is no safer than smoking cigarettes; 13% believe vaping is less safe than tobacco smoking; and 17% are unsure which is safer. Similarly, data compiled by the National Cancer Institute’s Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS), indicated that in 2017, the number of smokers believing e-cigarettes to be more harmful than regular cigarettes had increased since 2013.
Rasmussen, Most Say E-Cigarettes No Healthier Than Traditional Ones
Source: Vaping Post, 19 September 2018
Study: Cancers rising around the world
Researchers at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) have predicted that there will be 18.1 million new cases of cancer and 9.6 million deaths from the disease this year worldwide, up from 14.1 million cases and 8.2 million deaths in 2012.
Lung cancer is now the leading cause of cancer death for women in 28 countries, with the USA, Hungary, China and New Zealand being the worst affected.
George Butterworth, Senior Policy Manager at Cancer Research UK, said: “Tobacco is the single biggest reason why more women across the world are getting lung cancer than ever before. In the UK smoking among women became more prolific later than it did for men, so it’s not surprising that we’re seeing increasing lung cancer rates now. Similarly, cigarettes are now increasingly popular among women in low and middle income countries and the tobacco industry’s aggressive marketing to them is influencing this.”
Source: BBC News, 12 September 2018
See also: IARC Press Release
Public Health England urged to end tie-up with alcohol industry
Over 40 public health experts have written to Public Health England (PHE) to oppose its affiliation with alcohol industry funded charity, Drinkaware.
The letter argues that working with the industry will “significantly damage” PHE’s credibility.
Martin McKee, professor of European public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and one of the 46 signatories to the letter, said: “The tie-up with Public Health England does give the alcohol industry a lot of credibility. It says we are part of the solution when clearly they are not… [PHE] are creating a climate where other people feel encouraged to do this. Look at the potential tie up between British American Tobacco and Public Health in Birmingham recently, which again produced incredulity. This takes us into an area which we refer to as corporate or commercial determinants of health – the role of large corporations in shaping the agenda and in influencing policy.”
Source: The Guardian, 13 September 2018
US threatens to ban flavoured e-cigarettes
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned the country’s five largest e-cigarette makers — Juul, Blu, MarkTen, Vuse and Logic — that their products could be banned unless the companies can prove within 60 days that they have effective plans to stop sales to children.
“The disturbing and accelerating trajectory of use we’re seeing in youth and the resulting path to addiction must end,” said Scott Gottlieb, head of the FDA. “It’s simply not tolerable.”
The five brands account for 97% of e-cigarette sales in the United States. The value of all sales reached $2.35 billion in 2016. The announcement marks a shift in the agency’s policy on e-cigarettes, which until recently were seen as a potential tool to wean adult smokers off cigarettes.
Source: The Times, 13 September 2018
Saudi Arabia tells WTO it plans to adopt plain tobacco packaging
Saudi Arabia has notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) that it plans to adopt plain packaging of tobacco products, a public health measure strongly opposed by major tobacco firms.
The move by Saudi Arabia follows a WTO ruling in June in favour of Australian packaging laws in what was seen as a test case for tobacco control. Cuba, Indonesia, Honduras and the Dominican Republic challenged the Australian law on the grounds that the ban on colourful logos and the implementation of standardised packets were a breach of intellectual property rules and unduly restricted trade.
The Australian government described the ruling as a “resounding victory” for the laws it introduced in 2010. The World Health Organization said it expected the WTO ruling to create a domino effect as more and more countries moved towards tough Australian-style tobacco laws.
Source: Reuters News, 12 September 2018
28 March 2018
Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) welcomes new guidance published today (Wednesday 28th March) by NICE  on how to best support smokers to quit. It also welcomes the clear recommendations from NICE to health professionals about the advice smokers should be given on e-cigarettes.
However, the charity is deeply concerned that there are a declining number of specialist services around the country to implement this guidance.
An ASH/ Cancer Research UK  report published in January looking at the state of local support for people to quit found that in 2017 budgets for stop smoking services were reduced in half of local authorities in England, following reductions in 59% of local authorities in 2016, and in 39% of local authorities in 2015. In 2017, a specialist stop smoking service open to all smokers was provided by only 61% of local authorities.
Financial pressures due to the cuts to public health funding and the wider pressures on local government finances is the major culprit for the declining provision. A recent analysis by the King’s Fund found that in 2017/18 local authority funding for wider tobacco control faces reductions of more than 30%. Stop smoking services are one of the top four services in absolute planned cuts (£16 million). 
The lack of services for smokers are of particular concern for vulnerable groups such as pregnant smokers and those with a mental health condition. While smoking rates are steadily falling for the population as a whole there has been little change in people with a mental health condition  and rates among pregnant women have not fallen at all over the last 12 months .
Director of Policy, Hazel Cheeseman, said:
“It’s important to have good guidance but without services to make the guidance a reality then it becomes an academic exercise. This countries stop smoking services have been the envy of the world but they are being squeezed as a result of funding pressures. The Government needs to take action nationally to reverse this trend.”
ASH and other health organisations have been calling on the Government to plug the gap in funding through placing a levy on the tobacco industry to pay for the support smokers need .
Hazel Cheeseman added:
“Tobacco companies are among the most profitable in the world. In these difficult financial times it would be a win-win for the Government to legislate to require Big Tobacco to cover the cost of supporting smokers to quit.”
The new guidance from NICE provides welcome clarity for health professionals about e-cigarettes. The guidance is clear that they should provide accurate information to smokers about the substantially reduced risks of vaping compared to smoking and that people who smoke should not be discouraged from switching to e-cigarettes because the evidence is still developing. 
As there are no products currently licensed as medicines NICE was unable to recommend prescribing e-cigarettes at this time. If licensed products do become available then this could change in the future. Nicotine replacement therapies like gum and patches are cheap and highly cost-effective medicines and e-cigarettes would be a welcome addition to the armoury.
Hazel Cheeseman added,
“As e-cigarettes are the most popular aid for quitting it is good news that NICE recommends that health professionals should reassure smokers that they are substantially less harmful than smoking. Looking to the future it is hoped that some e-cigarettes will be licensed as medicines and could then be prescribed providing doctors with another tool to help smokers who want to quit.”
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.
 Feeling the Heat, the decline of stop smoking services in England: ASH/Cancer Research UK, Jan 2018 by ASH, funded by Cancer Research UK
 Local spending on public health: death by a thousand cuts, D Buck, King’s Fund, 3 Jan 2018
 The Stolen Years, ASH, May 2016
 Smoking at Time of Delivery Data, NHS Digital, March 2018
 Smoking Still Kills, ASH, 2015
 See NICE guidance NG92 on Stop smoking interventions and services 1.5.1:
For people who smoke and who are using, or are interested in using, a nicotine-containing e-cigarette on general sale to quit smoking, explain that: