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.
Cost of cigarettes must rise to reflect environmental damage from tobacco industry, WHO says
A new report published by the WHO has recommended that the cost of cigarettes should rise to reflect the wide-ranging environmental damage caused by the tobacco industry, and compares the industry’s carbon footprint to that of an entire country. In the UK, which has very little domestic tobacco production, smoking cigarettes “is done entirely at the expense of other nations’ resources and environmental health”, the report said.
Cigarette production and consumption has risen in recent decades with around 6 trillion cigarettes manufactured annually for an estimated 1 billion smokers. Tobacco farms take up more than 20,000 square miles of land globally and use over 22 billion tonnes of water. This is in addition to a range of environmental and social costs including high levels of pesticide use, soil depletion and child labour.
Professor Nick Voulvoulis, co-author of the report, said: “The environmental impacts of cigarette smoking, from cradle to grave, add significant pressures to the planet’s increasingly scarce resources and fragile ecosystems.” Dr Nicholas Hopkinson, co-author of the report, added: “Tobacco transnationals based in high income countries are literally and metaphorically burning the resources and the future of the most vulnerable people on our planet.”
Source: Independent, 2 October 2018
Daily Bulletin 3: Framework Convention Alliance at the WHO FCTC conference of the parties
Highlights from today’s agenda include implementing the ban on Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship – in the digital age; Switzerland’s relationship with the tobacco industry; PMI’s Foundation for a Smoke-Free World; the financial case for investment in tobacco control; the WHO’s new report on the environmental impact of the tobacco industry (see above); and tobacco price fixing in Sri Lanka.
Article 13 – A comprehensive ban on Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship (TAPS) – is key to reducing the uptake of tobacco and reducing tobacco-related harm. Changing patterns of media consumption present challenges to effectively banning TAPS, particularly cross-border TAPS.
US: FDA seizes documents from Juul in latest e-cigarette crackdown
On Tuesday the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) seized over 1,000 pages of documents from e-cigarette manufacturer Juul Labs, as part of its ongoing investigation into the company’s sales and marketing practices.
Last month the regulator announced that it was considering a ban on flavoured e-cigarettes due to concerns around youth uptake.
Juul makes up around 72% of the US e-cigarette market and has come under increasing scrutiny for its marketing practices, having released over 50,000 pages of documents to the FDA since April.
Source: Reuters, 2 October 2018
Philip Morris lobbying on e-cigarettes hidden from Australian public
Philip Morris International (PMI) has been lobbying Australian MPs to overturn the ban on vaping. This has been effectively hidden from the public due to a loophole in the Australian lobbying oversight system which allows companies to avoid signing up to the country’s lobbying register if they use lobbyists from within their own company rather than hiring a third party lobbyist.
PMI has been seeking meetings with MPs to discuss the vaping ban and engages a number of former government officials, including one registered lobbyist. The company argues that these merely provide advice and do not lobby on PMI’s behalf.
PMI has also taken advantage of an exemption in Australia’s tobacco advertising ban by placing prominent job ads in two major newspapers calling for staff to help it achieve a “future without cigarettes” and a “smoke-free Australia”.
Source: The Guardian, 2 October 2018
Study: US teenagers’ use of e-cigarettes and tobacco linked
A new study by the Rand Corporation has suggested that use of e-cigarettes among teenagers is linked with increased regular cigarette use, and vice versa. Youths who reported vaping at 17 years of age (8%) had a cigarette smoking rate of 6%. By the time they reached 19 years of age the proportion of young people who vaped increased to 9%, whereas the proportion who smoked cigarettes increased to 12%.
The study surveyed over 2,000 youths in California from when they were teenagers continuing until they were young adults.
Study author, Michael Dunbar said: “This highlights the importance of taking steps to prevent youth from vaping in the first place.”
The UK currently bans all forms of tobacco advertising and restricts advertising for e-cigarettes. Age of sale of both tobacco and e-cigarettes is 18.
Source: The Guardian, 2 October 2018
Editorial note: The researchers found that use of e-cigarettes increases the likelihood of youth smoking and vice versa and that there are common risk factors for both.
A recent survey conducted by ASH found that 0.3% of 11-18 year olds who had never smoked were currently using e-cigarettes.
Smoking rates among young people in the UK continue to fall.
See also: ASH survey on youth e-cigarette use
Philip Morris International under fire over ‘disgraceful’ PR stunt
Philip Morris International (PMI), the world’s largest tobacco firm, has been accused of staging “a disgraceful PR stunt” by offering to help NHS staff quit smoking to help mark the service’s 70th birthday. PMI made an ‘offer’ in a letter sent to all NHS bodies in England and also to Simon Stevens and Matt Hancock.
Mark MacGregor, PMI’s director of corporate affairs in the UK and Ireland, said in the widely distributed letter: “To support the 70th anniversary of the NHS, we are keen to work with you to help the 73,000 NHS employees who currently smoke, to quit cigarettes. This would be a collaborative campaign: you would provide cessation advice for quitting nicotine altogether, and for smokers who do not quit we can help them switch to smoke-free alternatives.”
Paul Burstow, the former Liberal Democrat health minister in the coalition government, said in a letter to Simon Stevens: “Any such collaboration with the tobacco industry would be completely inappropriate and a breach of the UK government’s obligations as a party to the WHO FCTC.”
Bob Blackman, chair of the APPG on Smoking in Health said: “They have the cheek to say they want to support the 70th anniversary of the NHS, but it’s clearly just a commercial opportunity to use the NHS to promote their heated tobacco products.”
Steve Brine, the public health minister said he would tell NHS trusts not to get involved. Brine said: “Our aim to make our NHS – and our next generation – smoke-free must be completely separate from the commercial and vested interests of the tobacco industry.”
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH said: “This is a disgraceful PR stunt. PMI is pretending partnership would benefit the NHS, when actually it would give them a massive commercial advantage. They could promote their own harm-reduction products as NHS-endorsed.”
Source: Guardian, 19 July 2018
British Government orders Phillip Morris to stop advertising “healthier” tobacco products, or face legal action
The Government will take one of the world’s largest tobacco firms to court unless it stops illegally targeting UK consumers with tobacco adverts, a Minister has said.
Yesterday the Department of Health sent a formal order to Phillip Morris International, which makes Marlboro cigarettes, telling it to remove poster adverts for “healthier” tobacco products from shops around the UK. PMI has been supplying newsagents across Britain with window posters promoting new iQOS tobacco heaters.
The iQOS posters are in breach of a strict, long-standing ban on advertising tobacco and tobacco-related products, the Department for Health and the National Trading Standards Institute have confirmed.
Public Health Minister, Steve Brine, said: “We have been explicit that the promotion of tobacco products is unlawful – as my letter to Phillip Morris International makes abundantly clear. We expect PMI to stop this unlawful advertisement of tobacco products and we will not rule out legal action if they continue.”
Source: The Telegraph, 18 July 2018
North-East: Smokers’ stories wanted for ‘hard-hitting’ health campaign
Tobacco control group Fresh wants people in the North-East affected by smoking to share their real life experiences. The aim is to put smokers’ real stories at the heart of a ‘hard hitting’ new campaign later this year, warning of the dangers of smoking. They are hoping to hear from former smokers who have been personally affected by ill-health or family members whose loved ones have suffered from a smoking-related illness.
Ailsa Rutter, director of Fresh, said: “It is a brave step to share your experiences with others, but we know that it can have a powerful impact in encouraging others to quit. If you want to make a difference and are interested in backing the campaign, we would love to hear from you.”
Source: The Northern Echo, 19 July 2018
Lancashire: More seizures of illicit tobacco in Nelson
Action against illegal tobacco in central Nelson has resulted in a further seizure in under a week at one shop, and a manufacturing operation being uncovered at another. An inspection by Lancashire County Council Trading Standards and Lancashire Police on Tuesday, July 17, found a further 88 packs behind the counter at one shop, after a raid the previous Thursday netted over 2,200 packs worth £10,000.
Officers then visited a second shop just outside Nelson town centre, where they found a production line for manufacturing packs of counterfeit rolling tobacco in an upstairs room.
Source: This is Lancashire, 18 July 2018
Scotland: Avoidable death rate highest in the UK
Scotland has the highest rate of avoidable death in the UK and the figures are getting worse, a BBC analysis has found. In 2016, the rate stood at 301 deaths per 100,000 people, compared with 287 in 2014. Experts blame social deprivation, with easy access to alcohol, tobacco and fast food also a factor.
Dr Andrew Fraser, from NHS Health Scotland, said: “We know that people in poorer areas experience more harm from alcohol, tobacco and fast food than those in more affluent areas. Part of the reason for this is that it is easier to access the things that harm our health in those areas.”
“To prevent death, disease and harm we need to take actions where and when they are needed. We must address harm from alcohol, tobacco, being overweight or obese. However, these are often common factors, co-existing in communities, groups and individuals, and so we must also address the environment we live in.”
Source: BBC News: 19 July 2018
Scotland: Dundee has one of the highest smoking rates in Britain
New figures from the Office for National Statistics show Dundee still has one of the highest rates of smoking in Britain, with more than one in five adults smoking. However, the number of smokers in Dundee is decreasing, due to a successful and sustained tobacco control strategy from the government. In 2011, 27.3% of Dundee’s population smoked 2017 and by this figure had dropped to 20.8%.
Source: Evening Telegraph, 18 July 2018
UN-backed treaty against illicit tobacco trade set to take effect in September
A UN-backed treaty aimed at stopping the illicit trading of tobacco products, is set to take effect on the 25th of September. The package of measures agreed by countries which 45 Parties and the European Union have ratified is known as the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products. It was developed in response to a growing illegal trade in tobacco products, often across borders.
The Protocol aims to make the supply chain of tobacco products secure through a series of governmental measures. It requires the establishment of a global tracking and tracing regime within five years of its entry into force. Other provisions to ensure control of the supply chain include licensing, record keeping requirements, and regulation of internet-sales, duty-free sales and international transit.
Source: Government World Magazine, 18 July 2018 x
Japan: First anti-smoking law gets go ahead – but it is lax and partial
Japan has approved its first national legislation banning smoking inside of public facilities, but the watered-down measure excludes many restaurants and bars and is seen as toothless.
The legislation aims to lower secondhand smoking risks ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics amid international calls for a smokefree Games. But ruling party lawmakers with strong ties to the tobacco and restaurant industries opted for a weakened version.
The new national law bans indoor smoking at schools, hospitals and government offices. Smoking will be allowed at existing small eateries, including those with less than 100 square meters (1,076 square feet) of customer space, which includes more than half of Japanese establishments. Larger and new eateries must limit smoking to designated rooms.
Violators can face fines of up to 300,000 yen ($2,700) for smokers and up to 500,000 yen ($4,500) for facility managers. The ban will be implemented in stages and fully enter into force in April 2020.
Source: Medical Xpress, 18 July 2018
USA: Campaign helps smokers to quit
The ongoing Tips from Former Smokers (Tips) campaign, which features stories of former smokers living with smoking-related diseases and disabilities, has had a considerable impact, according to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Tips campaign engages health care providers so that they can encourage their smoking patients to quit. In addition, resources are provided for health care providers, public health professionals, and mental health providers. More than nine million smokers were estimated to have attempted to quit during 2012 to 2015 as a result of the Tips campaign; conservative estimates indicate that over half a million smokers have quit for good.
There were 267,594 calls attributable to the Tips campaign in 2017, which ran from January 9 to July 30. An estimated 1.83 million smokers attempted to quit and 104,000 quit for good as a result of the 2014 campaign. Non-smokers reported increased conversations with family and friends about the dangers of smoking and had greater knowledge of smoking-related diseases as a result of the Tips 2012 campaign. An estimated 1.64 million smokers made a quit attempt and 100,000 smokers quit for good as a result of the 2012 campaign.
“Smokers who have seen Tips ads report greater intentions to quit within the next 30 days and next six months, and smokers who have seen the ads multiple times have even greater intentions to quit,” according to the report.
Source: Medical Xpress, 18 July 2018
British American Tobacco and Imperial Tobacco, the world’s second and fourth largest tobacco companies (excluding the Chinese state tobacco monopoly) are based in the UK. January 2017.
In 2010 Philip Morris International initiated a law suit with an arbitration panel of the World Bank alleging that two of Uruguay’s tobacco control laws violated a bi-lateral treaty with Switzerland. On 8 July 2016, the tribunal dismissed all of PMI’s claims and ordered the company to pay Uruguay’s legal costs. The following briefings by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids summarise the tribunal’s findings.
PMI v Uruguay ruling - key findings CTFK 2016