Worcestershire: Cuts to stop smoking aids
The British Lung Foundation has found that the local authority in Worcestershire fully decommissioned its stop smoking services in April 2016, and neighbouring Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) then advised that no prescriptions for nicotine patches, gum, lozenges and sprays should be written for new patients.
The findings were part of a wider study by the charity which found a 75% decline in stop smoking aids being prescribed by GPs and pharmacists in England in 2016/17 compared with 2005/6.
Alison Cook, director of policy at the British Lung Foundation, said all smokers should be able to expect their GP to provide access to stop smoking medication and cutting aids would only achieve short-term savings.
Source: The Shuttle, 18 July 2018
York: MP criticises lack of help for smokers to quit
A report by the British Lung Foundation has found that the Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) no longer directly funds stop smoking prescriptions and that GPs have been asked not to prescribe stop smoking medications due to their cost. As a result, the number of prescriptions for stop smoking medications has fallen by 64% in one year.
Alison Cook, director of policy at the British Lung Foundation said, “Our report shows that for patients in the city of York, services are only open to people in a priority group. This leaves some smokers without any support to stop smoking. The postcode lottery for treatment needs to end, and it must not be forgotten that tobacco dependency is an illness that requires urgent treatment.”
York MP Rachael Maskell has branded the treatment of smokers in York as “incredibly judgemental,” stating, “It’s disgraceful that the CCG will not fund stop smoking services while at the same time denying access to surgery. This has an impact on socially deprived areas because people will not be able to afford these treatments.”
Source: The Press, 18 July 2018
Tower Hamlets: The illegal tobacco roadshow
Today the illegal tobacco roadshow will be in Chrisp Street Market, Tower Hamlets, to give advice to people wanting to quit smoking and raise awareness about the impact illegal tobacco. This will also be an opportunity for residents to raise any concerns they may have about fake cigarettes and tobacco being sold in their area.
Between 10am and 5pm residents will have the opportunity to meet health support services and the council’s trading standards team (including the dogs responsible for locating illegal tobacco).
John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “Tower Hamlets has a zero tolerance approach to illegal tobacco and this is a fantastic opportunity for residents to find out more about the work we do. Illegal tobacco is sold cheaply but has particular health risks, and this is something we need to protect our residents from. It also encourages and often funds other crimes in our community.”
Source: Tower Hamlets, 17 July 2018
Opinion: Dark money lurks at the heart of our political crisis
In this opinion piece George Monbiot takes a look at organisations such as the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) that refuse to reveal who funds them, and the impact this is having on our democracy.
“The problem is exemplified, in my view, by the IEA. In the latest reshuffle, two ministers with close links to the institute, Dominic Raab and Matthew Hancock, have been promoted to the frontbench, responsible for issues that obsess the IEA: Brexit and the NHS.
Hancock, in his former role as cabinet office minister, notoriously ruled that charities receiving public funds should not be allowed to lobby the government. His department credited the IEA with the research that prompted the policy. This rule, in effect, granted a monopoly on lobbying to groups such as the IEA, which receive their money only from private sources. Hancock has received a total of £32,000 in political donations from the IEA’s chairman, Neil Record.
So what is this organisation, and on whose behalf does it speak? If only we knew. The only hard information we have is that, for many years, it has been funded by British American Tobacco (BAT), Japan Tobacco International, Imperial Tobacco and Philip Morris International. When this funding was exposed, the IEA claimed that its campaigns against tobacco regulation were unrelated to the money it had received.”
Source: The Guardian, 18 July 2018
US: Smoking in and near public housing will be banned at the end of July
People won’t be able to smoke in or near public housing starting on the 31st of July. Lit cigarettes, cigars and pipes will have to be kept at least 25 feet away from public buildings, though e-cigarettes will still be permitted.
The policy was announced two years ago by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, but the agency gave the nation’s more than 3,300 local public housing authorities nearly two years to begin enforcement.
The rule will be part of residents’ leases, accompanied with information about how to quit smoking. Though tenants who break this rule could be evicted, HUD has said eviction after just one violation “is not grounds for eviction,” and that smoking on public housing premises is a civil violation, not a crime.
Source: CNN, 13 July 2018
South Africa: Tobacco bill decrees restrictions on smoking in homes
The latest South African Tobacco Bill has included provisions which protect domestic workers or gardeners from secondhand smoke. People who smoke in the presence of this workforce could now be fined or jailed. The Bill also stipulates that you may not smoke in your home if you use it for teaching, tutoring or commercial childcare.
The Health Department’s Popo Maja said: “The bill seeks to ensure that employees are treated equally, including those working in private spaces. A private space used as a workplace will be regulated like other workplaces.”
Source: IOL, 17 July 2018
West Africa: Research shows increased tax on tobacco products will curb smoking
This week at a dissemination event in Senegal for the Action Research Project on Tobacco Taxation in West Africa, the Consortium for Economic and Social Research (CRES) called for increased taxation of tobacco products in the West African region to curb smoking.
Abdoulaye Diagne, the Executive Director of CRES said, “Tobacco consumption is only declining significantly and continuously in countries that have adopted a policy of strong and steady increase in the selling price of tobacco products through a significant increase in tax levels.”
Smoking accounts for the death of six million people worldwide annually. However, a WHO forecast said that by 2020 tobacco will kill more than 10 million victims per year and remain the leading cause of death.
Source: Journal du Cameroun, 17 July 2018
Question from Jim Shannon, Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)
“To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that people who smoke are aware of the health risks caused by smoking.”
Answer from Steve Brine, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Health and Social Care
“Alerting the public to the serious risks of smoking, and supporting smokers to quit, are priorities for Public Health England (PHE) and are at the centre of the Government’s Tobacco Control Plan for England, published last year.
PHE runs a programme of smoking cessation marketing activity including an annual television and digital advertising campaign focused on tobacco health harms. Information on the harms smoking tobacco causes is available on the Smokefree website and via the Smokefree National Helpline. Further information on PHE’s smoking cessation campaigns, including the harm caused by smoking, is available at the following link: www.nhs.uk/smokefree
PHE provides clinical tools and blogs to support health professionals to advise their patients about the risks of smoking. PHE also supports Health Education England and the National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training, which provide a range of resources and guidance to help people stop smoking.”
Source: Hansard, 17 July 2018
General debate: The Tobacco Control Plan
On Thursday the 19th of July there will be a General Debate on the Tobacco Control Plan in the Main Chamber. You will be able to watch the debate online here.
Source: Parliamentary Calendar
Guernsey: Islander picks up cigarette butts from dawn until dusk for WNTD
Andrew Munro, of Pick it Up Guernsey, walked from 5am to 9pm collecting hundreds of cigarette butts in aid of World No Tobacco Day. He also picked up general litter and invited people, and the police, to join them for an hour over lunch. He said that outside the hospital was one of the worst areas.
Andrew said “This is hopefully growing awareness about how bad cigarette butts can be – they are very nasty. I don’t think people realised that they don’t biodegrade either.”
Source: Guernsey Press, 1 June 2018
Cornwall: How much smoking is really costing the region
Research from Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) has found that smoking is costing Cornwall more than £120m every year. This number encompasses the cost to healthcare and to businesses.
Across the south west, the annual cost is £277.2 million to the NHS, and £72.4 million to local authorities from smoking-related social care needs.
Whilst Hospital bosses say that smoking remains the largest cause of preventable death in the region, a 2016 audit found that more than 1 in 4 hospital patients were not asked if they smoke and 50% of front line staff are not given routine smoking cessation training.
ASH Chief Executive Deborah Arnott said: “The Five Year Forward View calls for a ‘radical upgrade in prevention and public health’ but this has not been followed through and smokers are not getting the support they need to quit from the NHS. In some areas, Local Authority Stop Smoking Services have been reduced due to cuts in local authority funding. Cuts to public health budgets need to be reversed and the NHS needs to step-up and play a larger role in supporting smokers to quit.”
Source: Pirate FM, 4 June 2018
Tower Hamlets: Thousands of pounds worth of illegal tobacco seized
Tower Hamlets Council’s Trading Standards Officers and detection dogs found £8,000 worth of illegal tobacco hidden inside cereal boxes, coat pockets and behind display panels during a recent two-day operation. Officers found illegal products in 10 of the 18 premises visited.
Overall 12,360 cigarettes, 2,250g of hand-rolled tobacco and 68 pots of chewing tobacco were seized.
Source: Brit Bangla, 1 June 2018
Shocking World Health Organisation video reveals how smoking damages the heart
Released by the World Health Organization (WHO) for World No Tobacco Day, the video aims to raise awareness of the effect of cigarettes on the heart and encourage smokers to quit.
The 30-second clip starts with a heart beating slowly, as it asks viewers if they were aware that tobacco is a major cause of heart disease. But as the video proceeds, it beats quicker and more smoke can be seen puffing from its valves – designed to mimic being overworked.
The footage ends with the message ‘protect your heart and choose health – not tobacco’.
Dr Tedros Adhanom, from WHO called for more awareness of the links between smoking and heart disease. He said: “Most people know that using tobacco causes cancer and lung disease, but many people aren’t aware that tobacco also causes heart disease and stroke.”
Source: Daily Mail Online, 1 June 2018
Indonesia: lax smoking laws are helping next generation to get hooked
It is estimated that smoking-related diseases kill nearly 250,000 Indonesians every year.
Indonesia is the only country in Asia that has not signed and ratified the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention of Tobacco Control (FCTC) which endorses restrictions on the extent to which tobacco companies can lobby governments, and recognises that a complete ban on tobacco marketing activities is an effective way of reducing youth smoking uptake.
This is most likely a result of the influence large tobacco companies such as Philip Morris and British American tobacco have in the Indonesian market.
Cigarettes continue to be sold cheaply with a pack of 20 Marlboro available for US$1.55, compared to around US$20 in Australia.
Indonesia is the only country in the region that still allows direct tobacco advertising. To reduce exposure to children and teenagers, advertising is restricted on TV and radio to between 9:30 p.m. and 5 a.m. But youngsters are still exposed through billboards, roadside stalls, music concerts, sporting events and the internet. There are shops and restaurants branded with tobacco advertising everywhere.
Source: The Jakarta Post, 4 June 2018
USA: Hollywood silent on request to give R rating to movies with smoking
In August 2017, the American Heart Association and 16 other health and medical groups bought trade adverts and sent a letter to the six major movie studios represented by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), urging them to apply an R rating to any motion picture with tobacco imagery submitted for classification after Friday 8th June 2018. The only exceptions would be biographical films about people who smoked or when the film depicted the dangers of smoking.
However with the June deadline here, Chris Ortman, vice president of corporate communications for the MPAA, declined to comment.
Source: American Heart Association News, 31 May 2018
USA: Cigarette prices increase in New York
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has raised the cost of a pack of cigarettes from $10.50 to $13, the equivalent of $17 Australian dollars, to take effect this month.
Whilst this tax increase is a step in the right direction, other countries such as Australia, Japan and New Zealand continue to lead the way in having some of the highest tobacco taxes – a pack of cigarettes in Australia reaching nearly $40 Australian dollars in this year’s budget. Increases in taxation are one of the most effective mechanisms for prompting quit attempts.
Source: Daily Mail Online, 4 June 2018