Stirling study finds plain packaging led to price hike for branded tobacco
Research from Stirling University has revealed that small retailers in the UK inflated the prices of fully-branded tobacco products ahead of the introduction of standardised packaging.
Shops charged more than the RRP (recommended retail price) for fully-branded tobacco products as they became rarer, contrary to the advice of the tobacco industry who were concerned about customer loyalties shifting following the removal of fully-branded packaging.
Dr Nathan Critchlow, lead author of the study, said: “We found that…small retailers sold leading tobacco products higher than the RRPs. In particular, they increased prices above RRP for fully-branded packs as they were phased out – even those which had the prices marked on the packaging. Once the legislation became mandatory, small retailers continued to sell leading tobacco products above RRP. It is possible that they used product changes introduced under the policy, such as larger minimum pack size and removal of price marking, to opportunistically increase the profit from tobacco sales.”
Source: Central FM, 22 August 2018
Journal of Tobacco Control: Difference between recommended retail price and sales price for tobacco products in independent and convenience (small) retailers before and after the introduction of standardised tobacco packaging in the UK
Tax on vaping ruled out by ministers
Exchequer Secretary Robert Jenrick has written to the tobacco industry funded UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) to confirm that the government has no plans to tax e-cigarettes, stating that: “we have no current plans to introduce a new tax on vaping products.”
The letter also highlights that were e-cigarettes to be licenced as medicines and be available on prescription they could be eligible for a lower VAT rate.
Mr Jenrick said: “I recognise the contribution the vaping industry makes to the economy in terms of jobs and revenue to the Exchequer and welcome the fact the UK has a world leading vaping industry.”
Source: The Sun, 21 August 2018
Leicester: Hospital patients and visitors smoking in no-smoking areas
The wife of a patient at Glenfield Hospital has complained about people smoking outside her husband’s room and in no-smoking zones on hospital grounds, despite the presence of a number of designated smoking shelters.
Her husband, who has cystic fibrosis and is on a high-flow oxygen machine while he waits for a lung transplant, has been forced to keep the window of his room shut because of smokedrift from people smoking outside.
Sarah MacFadyen, head of policy at the British Lung Foundation, said: “People with a lung condition such as cystic fibrosis often find that passive smoking worsens their symptoms. This is why we support calls for all hospital grounds to be smoke-free zones.”
Source: Leicestershire Live, 21 August 2018
Opinion: Look out, cigarettes have a cool young rival
Anna Thomson considers the launch of Juul e-cigarettes in the UK following a recent report into e-cigarettes by the science and technology committee.
The US e-cigarette brand, Juul, makes up just over 70% of the US e-cigarette market and made more than $1.1 billion in profits over the past year. According to James Monsees, executive and board member at Juul, the purpose of their e-cigarette is to help traditional smokers cut down on their exposure to the wide range toxic and carcinogenic compounds found in regular cigarettes.
The popularity of the brand in the US has prompted debate about whether the health benefits of Juul e-cigarettes outweigh the risks of introducing a new generation to nicotine. Despite not being advertised to teens, Juuls have allegedly become popular in some US high schools, raising concerns about the brand’s appeal to teenagers.
Following the launch of Juul in the UK, MPs have recommended that regulations on the advertising, sale, taxation and use of vaping devices should be relaxed to encourage more smokers to switch to e-cigarettes.
Sales of e-cigarettes would still be prohibited to under-18s and current UK regulation is designed to inhibit uptake of e-cigarettes among young people.
Source: The Times, 22 August 2018
Israel bans Juul e-cigarettes citing public health risk
Israel has outlawed the import and sale of e-cigarettes produced by US manufacturer Juul Labs, citing public health concerns about their nicotine content.
Israel’s Health Ministry put out a statement attributing the ban to the high concentration of nicotine in Juul e-cigarettes, saying that the device poses “a grave risk to public health.”
The ban, which Juul is planning to appeal, comes into force on September 5.
Source: Reuters, 21 August 2018
Thailand: Phuket to launch anti-smoking campaign next month
The Thai city of Phuket is set to launch a major anti-smoking campaign next month to create a clean environment for local residents and raise public awareness about Thailand’s new Tobacco Control Act.
The campaign, which launches on September 23, will be joined by a number of public and private organisations, including Action on Smoking and Health Thailand.
Phuket City Municipality Mayor Somjai Suwannasuphobna, said today the campaign was developed out of concerns for the health of non-smokers and urged parents to set a good example for their children by not smoking.
Source: National News Bureau of Thailand, 22 August 2018
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
Lancashire: Smoking warning issued after two grass fires
Following call outs on Sunday 20th May, fire crews have issued a warning for people to be careful of moorland fires, especially at this time of the year, and make sure they safely dispose of cigarettes.
Watch manager Chris Howarth said: “The fire service would urge people to take extra care at this time of year with regard to cigarettes and smoking materials. Due to the current good weather, the risk of fires around the moors is significantly higher than usual. Grass fires can have a detrimental impact on the environment and local communities and can significantly drain the resources of the fire service.”
Source: Lancashire Telegraph, 21 May 2018
Oxford: Smoking in bed causes flat fire
Residents in the property escaped with minor smoke inhalation after being alerted by smoking alarms. Crew manager Lewis Sigsworth said: “It is very important that people are aware of the dangers of smoking in bed and the need to have working smoke alarms.”
Source: Oxfordshire Guardian, 22 May 2018
Leicester: City Council find illegal tobacco
Illegal cut price and counterfeit cigarettes have been seized by the council’s trading standards officers in recent months.
Trading standards officers at Leicestershire County Council and Leicester City Council using sniffer dogs have found tobacco hidden in secret compartments in shops.
Karen Retallic, of Leicestershire County Council’s trading standards team, said her team “found illegal products worth an estimated £46,000, in 10 premises in the year to April this year. We’ve found them under the floorboard, in the ceiling and in cavities hidden by electrical wiring. We would urge smokers to think twice before knowingly supporting the illegal tobacco trade for the sake of cheaper cigarettes.”
Source: The Hinckley Times, 22 May 2018
Health ministers make bold commitments at Geneva summit to tackle NCD’s
At the 30th Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting in Geneva, government representatives endorsed a series of bold proposals, including:
1.100% smoke free public spaces
2. 20% sugar tax on drinks
3. Immunisations for all girls aged 9-13 against cervical cancer by 2025
4. One-stop crisis centres for victims of gender-based violence
5. Creation of a Commonwealth Evidence Base for Cancer Control; and an acceleration of universal health coverage (UHC).
Addressing a packed room of ministers, delegates and observers, Secretary-General Scotland said, “This year’s meeting enables us to focus on fully playing our part as the Commonwealth in mobilising to tackle the growing crisis of non-communicable diseases (NCD’S), which is causing devastation in all our member countries, and affecting with particular severity small island developing states and low and middle-income countries.”
NCDs account for around ten million deaths across the Commonwealth every year, with seven million of these due to the leading causes such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers, respiratory disease and diabetes.
Source: The Commonwealth, 21 May 2018
Second-hand smoke exposes Thais to health risks
Around 17.3 million people in Thailand are victims of second-hand smoking at home, with a prolonged daily exposure of 30 minutes imposing a greater risk of cardiovascular problems and strokes, Dr Prakit Vathesatogkit, head of Action on Smoking and Health Foundation said yesterday.
In a Bangkok media conference ahead of May 31’s World No Tobacco Day, Prakit cited a WHO report finding that 2,615 Thais died yearly from coronary heart disease or strokes triggered by smoking, with victims as young as 21 to 25 years old. These people were among 6,500 Thais who die from second-hand smoke-triggered health complications each year, he said.
Prakit has urged Thai authorities to strictly enforce the Tobacco Product Control Act 2017 which discourages smoking in prohibited zones to protect non-smokers.
Source: The Nation, 22 May 2018