Smoking ban in prisons has led to tobacco becoming part of the prison ‘illicit economy’
Banning smoking in prisons has led to tobacco being smuggled in and becoming part of the illicit economy. In a letter to Bob Neill MP, chair of the Justice Select Committee, Rory Stewart MP, Prisons Minister, wrote: “With regards to the impact on the illicit economy; tobacco has become an additional currency to the current currencies relating to drug use and mobile phones within the illicit economy.”
The smoking ban was fully implemented in prisons this year after being introduced across the prison estate over the previous two years.
Mr Stewart also noted that there appeared to have been a sharp rise in the use of new psychoactive substances, such as Spice, related to the smoking ban but that this did not occur in all prisons. The relationship should be considered a correlation rather than causation, he said. He added: “My initial conclusions are that some of the worst fears about the possible consequences of smoke-free prisons have not been realised.”
Source: The Times, 23 July 2018
Stop smoking: e-cigarette users are still paying higher insurance premiums
Despite being considered a safer alternative, e-cigarette users are paying the same life insurance premiums as smokers. Along with nicotine patches and other nicotine products, e-cigarettes are placed in the same band as regular cigarettes, meaning users still need to pay higher life insurance rates.
The average non-smoker pays an estimated £13.83 a month for life insurance, according to a new analysis, while a smoker could expect to pay almost double at £22.70 a month.
Kevin Pratt, consumer affairs expert at MoneySuperMarket which conducted the analysis, said: “Using nicotine in any form, including patches and gum, means you’ll be regarded as a smoker; you have to be nicotine free for 12 months to get the lower premiums.”
Source: Express, 22 July 2018
PMI’s iQOS device being blamed for poor stock-market performance
Philip Morris International (PMI) recently delivered a ‘disappointing’ earnings report which showed a significant slowdown in their heat-not-burn primary market: Japan. The shares of PMI are down 30% in the past year, a substantial reduction. The relatively poor performance of iQOS is largely what is behind PMI’s large stock market falls.
iQOS is PMI’s flagship heat-not-burn product and it was first introduced in selected Japanese sites in 2014 and rolled out across the country last year. Initially iQOS did well, with unit shipments soon surpassing those of traditional cigarettes. However, the Japanese market is an anomaly in that competition for iQOS is effectively banned. The e-liquids used in electronic cigarettes are regulated as a pharmaceutical ingredient, which effectively prevents sales of e-cigarettes. This has allowed the heat-not-burn iQOS device to be sold with little competition.
The popularity of iQOS in Japan has since waned; PMI said they have reached all the ‘early adopters’ of the new technology and now has to try and convince ‘more conservative’ smokers to switch to the product.
Source: Yahoo Finance, 22 July 2018
Honduras appeals WTO landmark ruling on Australia’s plain tobacco packaging
Honduras has appealed against a World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruling won last month by Australia on its plain packaging requirements for tobacco, a WTO spokesman said on Friday. In a landmark ruling officially passed on the 29th June 2018, the WTO panel said Australia’s law improved public health by reducing the use of tobacco products, rebuffing claims that alternative measures would be equally effective.
It also rejected the argument that Australia had unjustifiably infringed tobacco trademarks and violated intellectual property rights.
Source: Reuters, 20 July 2018
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Smokers trying to quit should use stronger e-cigarettes, to protect their health, experts say
Researchers from London South Bank University have found that smokers who want to switch to vaping may be better to start with higher, rather than lower, nicotine levels to reduce compensatory behaviour and the amount of e-liquid used.
Dr Lynne Dawkins, from London South Bank University, said: “Some vapers might believe that starting out on a low nicotine strength is a good thing. But they should be aware that reducing their nicotine concentration is likely to result in the use of more e-liquid”. This is because when trying get the same hit as a high-nicotine e-cigarette, you have to puff harder, and for longer which exposes people to higher levels of toxins, including formaldehyde – which is formed when the e-cigarette is heated.
Source: The Sun, 8 June 2018
Minister announces smoking ban in prisons has not caused unrest among prisoners
A smokefree ban is now in place in all 102 high and medium secure prisons across England and Wales with open prisons only allowing smoking in designated outside areas.
Rory Stewart, Prisons Minister said there was no evidence of a decline in safety to prisoners or staff, and that it had only contributed to some low level disorder and a small number of more serious incidents. Stewart said as smokefree prisons were rolled out the number of inmates using e-cigarettes have gone up, with 50,000 vaping products, including re-fill packs being bought every week.
Source: The Today Programme, BBC Radio 4, 8 June 2018
Starting time: 4 minutes 50 seconds
North East: Sustained efforts to go smokefree by Mental Health Trusts reap rewards for patients and staff
Research by Teesside University and Fuse, the Centre for Translational Research in Public Health, shows that the number of patients in mental health hospitals who smoke in the North East is falling thanks to a sustained approach by partner organisations.
In March 2016 two mental health trusts in the region; Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust and Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, went fully smoke free.
The report outlines figures from Public Health England which found there was a considerable drop in smoking prevalence recorded across both organisations. In one of the Trusts, clinical audit showed that the proportion of inpatients that smoked fell from 43% in 2015 to 21% in 2018.
The report also highlights the preliminary work undertaken to prepare for the smoke free policy and noted that both Trusts had prepared 18 months in advance and introduced a range of measures to aid successful implementation. This included training staff to give advice on quitting, appointing stop smoking advisers on every unit and providing patients with Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) within 30 minutes of admission.
Source: North East Connected, 8 June 2018
USA: Huge drop in teens smoking tobacco: Centre for Disease Control report reveals 20% drop in under-18s lighting up since 2011
Tobacco use is continuing to fall among children and teenagers in the US, an encouraging sign that the leading cause of preventable death in the US is finally falling out of fashion, a new report from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention reveals.
According to the report the number of middle and high school students that use tobacco products has fallen by 20% since 2011.
In the last five years, e-cigarette use, or vaping, has overtaken smoking as the favourite nicotine delivery system for students.
Source: Daily Mail, 7 June 2018
US: E-cigarette sellers turn to scholarships to promote brands
A growing number of e-cigarette sellers have started offering college scholarships as a way to get their brands listed on university websites.
The scholarships, ranging from $250 to $5,000, mostly involve essay contests that ask students to write about the dangers of tobacco or whether vaping could be a safer alternative. At least one company asks applicants to write about different types of e-cigarettes and which one they recommend.
Although some of the scholarships are limited to students 18 and older (the nation’s legal age to buy vaping products), many are open to younger teens or have no age limit.
Source: Mail Online, 8 June 2018
India: Philip Morris plans to target Indian smokers with IQOS device
Philip Morris International is planning to launch its iQOS (Heat not burn) smoking device in India, as the tobacco giant seeks a foothold in a country with the world’s second-biggest smoker population.
India has stringent laws to deter tobacco use, which the government says kills more than 900,000 people every year. But the country still has 106 million adult smokers, second only to China according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), making it a lucrative market for Philip Morris to target.
If Philip Morris are to persuade officials, it would need to convince a government that has in recent years raised cigarette taxes, ordered companies to print bigger health warnings on tobacco packs and launched a quit-smoking helpline.
Source: Reuters, 8 June 2018
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Department of Health and Social Care publish ‘Delivery Plan’ for the Tobacco Control Plan for England
On the 7th June 2018, the Department for Health and Social Care released a ‘Delivery Plan’, setting out how the Tobacco Control Plan for England is to be delivered.
The delivery plan will monitor how the aims of the tobacco control plan for England are being met, setting out specific milestones and what is expected at national and local levels.
ASH response to Welsh Government consultation on smoking in prisons.ASH_welshprisonsconsultationresponse.pdf