Telford shop worker fined for selling illegal tobacco
A shop worker who was caught with illegal tobacco and cigarettes at a store in Telford has been ordered to pay more than £2,500 in fines and lost duty. The illegal haul found included 4,140 cigarettes and 1.15kg of hand-rolling tobacco worth more than £1,570 in lost duty. Officers found cigarettes and tobacco behind the counter, in the storage area, and in the foot well of a seized vehicle. They also found a number of notepads containing lists and prices. The discovery came from a joint operation to disrupt the sale and supply of illegal tobacco and alcohol in Telford and Shrewsbury.
Nick Stone, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “The sale of illegal tobacco and alcohol will not be tolerated by us or our partner agencies. Disrupting criminal trade is at the heart of our strategy to clampdown on the illicit tobacco market, which costs the UK around £2.5 billion a year, and the sale of illicit alcohol which costs the UK around £1.3 billion per year.”
Source: Shropshire Live, 5 September 2018
USA: Judge orders FDA to speed up graphic warnings requirement for cigarettes
In a emphatic victory in America’s fight against tobacco, a federal court has ordered the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to expeditiously issue a final rule requiring graphic health warnings on cigarette packs and advertising, as mandated by a 2009 federal law.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani was in response to a lawsuit filed in October 2016 by eight public health and medical groups and several individual pediatricians. Judge Talwani agreed with the health groups that the FDA has both “unlawfully withheld” and “unreasonably delayed” agency action to require the graphic warnings.
Judge Talwani set a deadline of September 26, 2018, for the FDA to “provide to this court an expedited schedule for the completion of outstanding studies, the publication of the proposed graphic warnings rule for public comment, review of public comments, and issuance of final graphic warnings rule in accordance with the Tobacco Control Act.”
Source: AAP News, 5 September 2018
Study: Smoking linked to higher dementia risk
Researchers in Korea have found that when compared with current smokers, long-term quitters and never smokers had 14% and 19% lower risks of dementia, respectively. Never smokers had an 18% decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease compared with current smokers. Also, long-term quitters and never smokers had 32% and 29% decreased risks of vascular dementia compared with current smokers.
The study included 46,140 men aged 60 years or older from a Korean health screening program in 2002 to 2013.
“Smoking cessation was clearly linked with a reduced dementia risk in the long term, indicating that smokers should be encouraged to quit in order to benefit from this decreased risk.” said senior author Dr. Sang Min Park, of Seoul National University, in Korea.
See also: Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology, Effect of smoking cessation on the risk of dementia: a longitudinal study
Source: The Sun, 6 September 2018
Study: Varenicline makes no difference in shisha tobacco addiction
Researchers have shown that a drug commonly used to help smokers overcome addiction to cigarettes does not have the same effect in shisha smokers. Smoking tobacco through a waterpipe, often referred to as shisha or hookah smoking, is becoming more popular, in some parts of the world.
Researchers at the University of York undertook a trial with more than 500 daily shisha smokers in Pakistan. Half were treated with the drug varenicline, and the other with a placebo drug. The results showed that varenicline, a medication used to help tackle cigarette smoking, did not make a difference in assisting shisha smokers break the habit. The researchers have suggested that this is not necessarily because the drug does not work in shisha smokers, but that despite the willingness of participants to quit, only a minority made a serious attempt at quitting all forms of tobacco.
Source: Medical Xpress, 6 September 2018
Telford: Figures coming down as midwife supports pregnant smokers to quit
Telford and Wrekin had a much higher than average number of women who smoked at the time of giving birth in 2016/17. A total of 21% of pregnant women were smoking when their babies were born compared to the national average of 10.5%.
However numbers have reduced over the past year after a new role was created to tackle the problem head-on.
Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group and Telford & Wrekin Council decided to jointly commission a public health midwife role to try to tackle the issue. Figures show that since Michelle Powell who had been a local midwife for over 25 years was appointed to the position, the number of women still smoking at the time of birth has dropped. The current 2017/18 figure shows a decline to 17.2%.
Michelle, who works alongside a support midwife, encourages mothers-to-be to stop smoking using nicotine replacement therapies, offers advice and monitors their progress.
Source: Shropshire Star, 17 May 2018
Nottinghamshire: £2.4 million of illicit cigarettes and tobacco seized in county in one year
More than 124,000 illicit cigarettes and 6,000kg of tobacco were seized in Nottinghamshire last year, with 44 arrests made.
During 2017/18, officers from Nottinghamshire County Council’s trading standards team conducted a total of 124 inspections at premises in the county. In 45 instances there were seizures of illicit tobacco.
Source: Nottingham Post, 16 May 2018
Obesity linked to increased risk of taking up smoking and smoking frequency
A team of researchers based in France and the UK set out to determine whether genetic markers associated with obesity play a direct (causal) role in smoking behaviour.
They analysed genetic variants with known effects on body mass index (BMI), body fat percentage and waist circumference for nearly 450,000 individuals from the UK Biobank database and the Tobacco and Genetics (TAG) consortium, using a technique called Mendelian randomisation.
The results show that each 4.6 kg/m2 increase in BMI was associated with an 18% increased risk of being a smoker in UK Biobank and a 19% increased risk in the TAG consortium data.
Each increase in BMI was also estimated to increase smoking frequency by around one cigarette per day (0.88 in UK Biobank and 1.27 in the TAG consortium).
If it could be established that obesity influences smoking behaviour, this would have implications for prevention strategies aiming to reduce these important risk factors.
Source: Medical Express, 16 May 2018
US: Man first to die from vape pen malfunction
A man has died after his vape pen exploded. Tallmadge D’Elia suffered traumatic head injuries and burns to over 80% of his body due to the malfunctioning e-cigarette, a post-mortem found.
The 38-year-old had being using the product on May 5th when the device exploded, igniting a blaze at the beach resort home of his parents in St Petersburg, Florida.
Mr D’Elia’s death is understood to be the first recorded death due to a vape pen explosion in the United States.
Source: The Mirror, 17 May 2018