Budget 2018: Cost of cigarettes to rise
Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced that the tobacco tax escalator will remain at 2% above inflation. This means that on top of September’s inflation rate of 2.4%, a further 24p will be added, excluding inflation, to a standard-priced pack of cigarettes. The increase will take the average price for a pack of cigarettes to over £10.
Hand rolling tobacco taxes will go up by 3% above inflation.
See also: ASH press release, ASH comment on Budget: Missed opportunity
Source: The Sun, 30 October 2018
London: Brent Council launches campaign against paan spitting
People caught spitting paan in the street could face a fine of £100, after Brent Council launched a campaign against the practice. Paan is a combination of leaf and nut, which is chewed, often with tobacco, to produce stimulant effects. It is popular in Asian communities and is widely available across Brent.
The council has urged users not to spit out the mixture onto roads and pavements as it can leave a distinctive red stain. Councillor Krupa Sheth, responsible for the environment at Brent Council, said the campaign highlights that such action will not be tolerated in the borough.
Source: Harrow Times, 29 October 2018
Finnish Medical Association seeks total ban on snus tobacco
The Finnish Medical Association (FMA) says the import of snus, an orally-ingested tobacco product, should be banned altogether. Snus is legal in neighbouring Sweden.
As part of its agenda to reduce tobacco use in Finland, a working group of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health proposed in May that the daily limit on snus imports should be lowered from 1 kg to 100 grams.
According to the FMA, this does not go far enough.
“Selling snus is illegal in Finland. Therefore it would be more logical to completely prohibit its import, instead of just reducing the allowed amount.” the FMA said in a response to the proposal.
Source: Uutiset, 29 October 2018
Editorial: E-cigarette policy should consider environmental effects
An editorial in the American Journal of Public Health argues that health policy debates around e-cigarettes need to consider the health of the environment too. Each stage of the e-cigarette product lifecycle, including mining, manufacturing, using and disposing, could pose a potential environmental harm, wrote Yogi Hale Hendlin of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco.
“Anytime we make something that is disposable, we’re essentially stealing from the future… In 2015, more than 58 million e-cigarettes and refills were sold in the U.S. at grocery stores and convenience stores, which doesn’t include vape shops or online sales” Hendlin writes.
See also: BMJ Editorial: Tobacco smoke and environmental injustice
Source: Reuters, 30 October 2018
Barnsley: Council warned market smoke ban might be ‘unlawful’
Barnsley Council intends to prevent the sale of smoking related goods in a new shopping complex that will fully open later this year. However, solicitors acting on the behalf of market traders have challenged the upcoming ban and have written to the council arguing that the ban would be in conflict with traders’ legal rights.
The council is planning a range of measures for new developments, with an aim to improve the town’s health. This includes encouraging healthy eating food outlets and extending its work to reduce smoking, putting tobacco use out of the sight of children, so they have no ‘role model’ to follow in future.
Source: Barnsley Chronicle, 18 September 2018
Sheffield: Council targets shisha users in health campaign
Sheffield council has launched a health campaign aimed at shisha users, saying that smoking shisha for an hour is equivalent to smoking 100 cigarettes. Since June, Sheffield City Council has prosecuted a number of bars across the city, issuing £15,000 in fines for breaking the ban on smoking in work places.
The authority is now targeting users in a campaign on social media.
Greg Fell, director of public health in the city, said some people believe it is safer than smoking traditional cigarettes. “We want people to know shisha is not safe and to inform them about the risks”, he added.
Source: BBC News, 18 September 2018
World Health Organisation calls on Pakistan to introduce uniform tobacco taxation structure
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called upon the government of Pakistan to simplify its tobacco taxation. Its core suggestions are to implement a uniform tax structure, increase tobacco taxation to 70% of the retail price and immediately withdraw the ‘third tier’ of taxation introduced by the previous government. Cigarette brands sold in Pakistan are placed into three tiers of tax, with most in the ‘third tier’ which applies the lowest taxes.
The prevalence of tobacco product use in Pakistan is very high (19.1%), particularly among men (31.8%). Moreover, 70% people in Pakistan are exposed to secondhand smoke at indoor workplaces which is also damaging.
Pakistan has signed and ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and there are many measures it is yet to enforce. Stricter implementation of existing laws on tobacco control, a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship and increase in tobacco taxation have the potential for visible impact.
Source: The News, 18 September 2018
Finns accused of smuggling tonnes of Swedish snus across the border
Snus, moist oral tobacco snuff, has been banned from being sold anywhere in the EU since 1992, apart from in Sweden which negotiated an exemption to the ban when it joined the Union in 1995. Eight people are now suspected of having smuggled more than 12 tonnes of snus from Sweden to neighbouring Finland between 2016 and 2018, the Finnish customs authority said on Monday. The eight suspects are accused of smuggling and aggravated tax fraud.
Source: The Local Sweden, 18 September 2018