While most forms of tobacco advertising and promotion in the UK are banned, the tobacco industry has continued to promote its products through packaging and “below the line” marketing.
Major tobacco companies found to be secretly using social media influencers to advertise
Tobacco companies are using social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to advertise cigarettes by secretly paying social media influencers to promote images of cigarettes and smoking. This circumvents rules implemented by social media platforms which ban paid advertising of tobacco products.
The two year investigation was carried out by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and consumer research firm Netnografica LLC. The findings have been detailed in a petition sent to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by nine leading public health and medical groups.
Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said: “Tobacco companies proclaim that they don’t target kids, but this investigation shows they are doing the exact opposite – and doing so with a level of sophistication that threatens to addict a new generation and set back progress in reducing smoking around the world.”
Source: Marketing Interactive, 28 August 2018
Study: Teenagers who smoke and drink suffer ill effects by age of 17
A new study published in the European Heart Journal has found that teenagers who smoke and drink alcohol are causing visible damage to their arteries by the age of 17. These changes are linked with an increased risk of strokes and heart attacks in later life.
Researchers at University College London’s Institute of Cardiovascular Science studied smoking data from 1,266 youngsters between 2004 and 2008, and conducted tests to discover if there had been any stiffening of their arteries.
Professor Metin Avkiran, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, which part-funded the research, said: “It’s never too late to make changes that may literally end up saving your life. This study suggests that the damage to arteries can occur even in the young, leading to serious trouble later on in life. Quitting smoking is the single best thing you can do to protect your heart.”
Source: BBC, 29 August 2018
European Heart Journal: Early vascular damage from smoking and alcohol in teenage years: the ALSPAC study
Half of smokers throw cigarette ends down the drain despite pollution fears
Research conducted by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy found that 52% of smokers believe that it is acceptable to discard cigarette butts down the drain. A further 11% did not even consider cigarette butts to be litter.
39% of smokers said they had discarded a cigarette butt down the drain during the last month, compared to 77% who said that they were concerned that toxins from their cigarettes cause significant harm to marine life.
Allison Ogden-Newton, chief executive at the Keep Britain Tidy, said: “While flicking a cigarette down the drain may not seem harmful, we need to ensure smokers understand that this has a direct and often drastic impact on wildlife. We need to challenge this view [that discarding cigarettes in this way is acceptable] and get the message to smokers that this is still littering.”
Source: Daily Mail, 29 August 2018
Scotland: Prisoners to be offered free vaping kits ahead of tobacco ban
Prisoners who smoke will be offered vaping kits as Scotland’s jails prepare to go smokefree this Autumn. The £200,000 scheme is intended to support inmates to quit smoking and will commence at the beginning of November, before the smoking ban comes into force at the end of the month.
Over 70% of Scotland’s inmates are believed to smoke, with that figure rising to up to 95% for female inmates. The upcoming smokefree initiative was prompted by recent evidence highlighting high levels of exposure to second-hand smoke in prisons.
Tom Fox, spokesman for the Scottish Prison Service, said: “After the 30th of November, there will be nowhere in our prisons where anyone will be able to smoke…we are recognising the unique nature of that environment by providing [this] support.”
Source: BBC, 29 August 2018
India’s health ministry warns against sales of e-cigarettes and heat-not-burn devices
On Tuesday, India’s federal health ministry sent an advisory to state governments warning them about the potential risks of e-cigarettes and heat-not-burn devices such as Philip Morris International’s IQOS device.
The health ministry is concerned that these devices could act as a gateway into cigarette smoking for children and non-smokers, stating that they are: “a great health risk to [the] public at large, especially to children, adolescents, pregnant women and women of reproductive age”.
India has 106 million adult smokers and tobacco use kills over 900,000 people every year.
Source: Reuters, 28 August 2018
Study: E-cigarette use may ameliorate the harm resulting from tobacco smoking in COPD patients, even in the long term
New research published in the International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease suggests that e-cigarette use may ameliorate some of the harm resulting from tobacco smoking in patients with COPD.
The researchers compared changes in respiratory parameters for 44 COPD patients, half of whom had either quit or dramatically reduced their smoking rate by switching to e-cigarettes, and half of whom were current smokers not using e-cigarettes.
According to the authors: “the results may provide preliminary evidence that long-term use of e-cigarettes is unlikely to result in substantial health concerns in COPD patients. Quitting smoking is a key strategy not only to prevent the onset of COPD but also to stop its progression to more severe disease stages. Given that many COPD patients continue smoking despite their symptoms, the e-cigarette could be an effective and safe alternative to tobacco cigarettes in this vulnerable population.”
Source: PR Newswire, 29 August 2018
International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: Health effects in COPD smokers who switch to electronic cigarettes: a retrospective-prospective 3-year follow-up
Scotland: Health board backs ASH Scotland’s smokefree charter
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC), has signed ASH Scotland’s Charter for a Tobacco-Free Generation, which seeks to make Scotland tobacco free by 2034.
The charter is designed to drive down smoking rates, with smoking remaining the biggest single preventable cause of ill health and premature death in Scotland.
The NHSGGC director of public health and board member John Matthews OBE said, “our work already focuses on key charter principles and by signing the ASH Scotland charter we are committing the board to further sustained action to reduce tobacco-related harm by encouraging people not to start, supporting them to stop or protecting them from tobacco smoke.”
Source: Dumbarton & Vale of Leven Reporter, 18 June 2018
Scotland: Ban on smoking outside South Ayrshire cafes could be removed
Labour Councillor Phil Saxton is to table a motion calling for a rethink of South Ayrshire’s three-year-old ban on smoking outside cafes, which has been labelled a threat to small businesses
Councillor Saxton, who is looking for “compromise” is now expected to lead calls for a mixed smoking zone outside cafes or bars which use council-owned pavements.
That vote is scheduled to take place on the 28th of June when the council holds its last full meeting before the summer recess. It is understood that members are currently divided on the issue.
Source: Daily Record, 18 June 2018
US: Smoking hits another all-time low
About 14% of US adults were smokers last year, down from about 16% in 2016, government figures show. The findings come from a national health survey by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
K. Michael Cummings, from the tobacco research program at the Medical University of South Carolina, said “everything is pointed in the right direction,” but that the new figures mean there are still more than 30 million adult smokers in the country.
Experts say a comprehensive suite of tobacco control campaigns, cigarette taxes and smoking bans have contributed to this overall decline. The launch of electronic cigarettes and their growing popularity has also likely played a role, since e-cigarettes heat liquid nicotine into a vapour without the harmful by-products generated from burning tobacco.
Source: The New York Times, 19 June 2018
US: Tobacco companies’ websites to post court-ordered warnings
Tobacco companies must now include statements on their websites that clarify the health impact of smoking and secondhand smoke, the addictive nature of smoking, that cigarettes labelled “low tar” and “light” are no less harmful, and the way in which nicotine delivery has been enhanced by cigarette design.
The statements were ordered on the 1st of May as part of a 2006 federal court decision that found major cigarette manufacturers, including R.J. Reynolds and Philip Morris, had defrauded the public about the health risks of their products. The companies affected are Philip Morris USA and its parent company Altria, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco and Lorillard, which is now owned by Reynolds American.
Robin Koval, CEO and president of the Truth Initiative, a tobacco control nonprofit, has said “the corrective statements are fine, but we would have rather seen corrective action from the tobacco industry.” He also points out that these statements will have little impact on smoking in young people, since such websites are not available to those under 21.
Source: CNBC, 18 June 2018
US: Vermont tobacco control group calls for smokefree area
A tobacco control group in Vermont has urged Montpelier leaders to create a half mile long smokefree zone in the city’s downtown area. The Central Vermont New Directions Coalition will present a petition to the Montpelier City Council later this month, and so far the group has collected about 1,500 signatures.
Coalition member Ann Gilbert says the organisation is trying to protect families and elderly residents who visit the downtown area, claiming that a smoking ban is a big part of creating a health community.
Source: US News & World Report, 18 June 2018
Thailand: Uttaradit province runs tobacco control campaign on social media
A tobacco control campaign is underway in the Uttaradit province of Thailand to encourage community health leaders to create tobacco control video clips for distribution on various social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, highlighting the dangers of cigarettes.
The Uttaradit Mass Communication Club will be working with ASH Thailand and other health and public relations volunteers to discourage smoking and call for strict enforcement of the Tobacco Control Act 2017.
Source: National news Bureau of Thailand, 18 June 2018
Australia: Secret website selling cheap tobacco
Australia is the most expensive place in the world to buy cigarettes, with the average cost at nearly $40 a packet. The Treasurer, Scott Morrison, has also planned the second of four consecutive 12.5% tobacco excise increases for the 1st September. This is expected to add another $3 to the price of a typical packet.
However, some smokers are now using a secret website called ‘Ciggies World’ to buy packets of cigarettes at prices up to 70% lower than retail price. Whilst a packet of Marlboro Gold cigarettes retails for about $30 in Australia, the Ciggies World website sells a pack of 20 for $4.
Although the prices are comparatively cheaper, smokers may have to wait for over a month before they receive their cigarettes, and could be forced to pay unexpected taxes.
Source: Mail Online, 19 June 2018