Link of the week
NHS smoking in pregnancy data shows 10.4% of pregnant mothers still smoke in England
New NHS figures have revealed the number of women who said they were smokers at the time of giving birth between April and June this year. The numbers relate to 147,770 births during this three-month period. In total 15,151 of those babies – 10.4% – were born to mothers who continued to smoke tobacco while they were pregnant.
Nationally there is a Government ambition to reduce the number of pregnant mothers smoking to 6% or less by 2022. However, only 33 out of 195 areas met this target in the first quarter of this year, and a tenth of women across England were smoking at the time of delivery.
Smoking during pregnancy has been proven to worsen babies’ health as they grow older and to increase the risk of a premature birth or cot death.
Vicky Salt, policy manager at Action on Smoking and Health, said:
“Smoking during pregnancy is a leading cause of still birth and miscarriage as well as premature birth and low birth weight. The data released today shows a welcome decline in women smoking during pregnancy. However, this is only across three months and while a few areas are already reaching the Government’s 6% target, many more are nowhere near. We must ensure fewer women are smoking when they become pregnant and that midwives are properly trained to help those who are smoking quit as soon as possible.”
Source: Daily Mail, 6 September 2018
Opinion: It’s time to stop tarring e-cigarettes and tobacco with the same brush
Rt Hon Norman Lamb, chair of the Science and Technology Select Committee, writes about the relative harms of e-cigarettes compared with tobacco cigarettes.
“You might have seen some huffing and puffing over the Science and Technology Committee supposedly recommending that e-cigarettes should be allowed on public transport. Yesterday, I made a statement to the House of Commons about our recent report on e-cigarettes to clarify what we actually said. The evidence is clear: e-cigarettes are significantly less harmful to a smoker’s health than conventional cigarettes.
Public Health England estimates that e-cigarettes are around 95 per cent less harmful. They’re not the only ones — NICE, the British Medical Association, Cancer Research UK, the Royal Society for Public Health, and the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh are just some of the organisations that agree.
A growing number of people are turning to e-cigarettes as a useful tool to stop smoking. Yet many misconceptions about e-cigarettes persist, with some people demanding that e-cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes should be treated in the same way.”
Source: The Times, 7 September 2018
Don’t send vapers to use smoking shelters, MPs suggest
About 2.9 million people in the UK are currently using e-cigarettes. On Thursday, MPs debated a report on e-cigarettes, by the science and technology select committee, which suggested that e-cigarettes were too often overlooked by the NHS as a tool to help people stop smoking.
Organisations should consider having a separate vaping room or area instead of vapers having to use smoking shelters. Putting vapers and smokers together had been likened to “an alcoholic being put in a pub situation and expected to refrain”, SNP MP Carol Monaghan said.
Ms Monaghan, a member of the committee, said that the evidence they heard suggested e-cigarette users were “having to go out and use smoking shelters outside buildings” and urged a “more realistic view of the use of e-cigarettes”.
Source: BBC News, 6 September 2018
Prevention must be the heart of the NHS long-term plan
Chief executive of Public Health England, Duncan Selbie, has said he wants a “smoke-free society” by the year 2030. He told the NHS England Expo in Manchester: “Smoking should no longer be seen as a lifestyle choice. It is an addiction that warrants medical treatment. Everyone who smokes must be offered the support they need to quit. With the right long-term plan in place, we can remove smoking from England. This is the single biggest thing we can do to improve the nation’s health.”
He said the move would save thousands of lives and free up almost £900million a year; funds that the NHS currently spends on treating illnesses caused by tobacco.
See also: Public Health England: Prevention must be the heart of the NHS long-term plan
Source: The Sun, 7 September 2018
Most U.S. colleges are not tobacco- and smokefree
Most U.S. universities and community colleges don’t have tobacco-free or smokefree policies on campus, a new study has found. About 35% have tobacco-free policies that prohibit all tobacco use, 10% have smokefree policies that prohibit cigarettes but not all tobacco and 54% don’t have any policy, researchers report in the American Journal of Public Health.
“Despite years of public health effort, only 59% of the U.S. population is covered by smoke-free non-hospitality workplace, restaurant and bar laws in 2018,” said senior study author Kelvin Choi, a researcher with the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities in Bethesda, Maryland.
See also: American Public Health Association, Adoption of Tobacco- and Smoke-Free Policies in a US National Sample of Postsecondary Educational Institutions
Source: Reuters, 6 September 2018
Martyn Day Scottish National Party, Linlithgow and East Falkirk
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure that the UK tobacco product track and trace system will be compliant with the requirements of the (a) EU Tobacco Products Directive and (b) WHO FCTC Protocol to Eliminate the Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of implementing a tax stamp, label-based track and trace system.
Robert Jenrick The Exchequer Secretary
The government published an invitation to tender for the issuing of unique identifiers for the tobacco product track and trace system on 31 August. It is a key condition of securing this contract that the system proposed meets all the requirements of both the EU Tobacco Products Directive and WHO FCTC Protocol to Eliminate the Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products.
The government has no plans to introduce tax stamps for tobacco products. If a label-based track and trace system is proposed by any of the bidders for the contract, this will be assessed against the requirements for the system alongside any other bids made.
Source: Hansard, 6 September 2018
Link of the week
Keep Britain Tidy video
Keep Britain Tidy have launched a new national campaign – #BinTheButt – to stamp out cigarette litter, which causes significant damage to marine life.
They’re calling on smokers across the UK to rethink how they dispose of their cigarettes, as research reveals that only half (53%) of Brits think that cigarette butts get washed into the sea if they get dropped, blown or washed down the drain.
Smoking ban in prisons has led to tobacco becoming part of the prison ‘illicit economy’
Banning smoking in prisons has led to tobacco being smuggled in and becoming part of the illicit economy. In a letter to Bob Neill MP, chair of the Justice Select Committee, Rory Stewart MP, Prisons Minister, wrote: “With regards to the impact on the illicit economy; tobacco has become an additional currency to the current currencies relating to drug use and mobile phones within the illicit economy.”
The smoking ban was fully implemented in prisons this year after being introduced across the prison estate over the previous two years.
Mr Stewart also noted that there appeared to have been a sharp rise in the use of new psychoactive substances, such as Spice, related to the smoking ban but that this did not occur in all prisons. The relationship should be considered a correlation rather than causation, he said. He added: “My initial conclusions are that some of the worst fears about the possible consequences of smoke-free prisons have not been realised.”
Source: The Times, 23 July 2018
Stop smoking: e-cigarette users are still paying higher insurance premiums
Despite being considered a safer alternative, e-cigarette users are paying the same life insurance premiums as smokers. Along with nicotine patches and other nicotine products, e-cigarettes are placed in the same band as regular cigarettes, meaning users still need to pay higher life insurance rates.
The average non-smoker pays an estimated £13.83 a month for life insurance, according to a new analysis, while a smoker could expect to pay almost double at £22.70 a month.
Kevin Pratt, consumer affairs expert at MoneySuperMarket which conducted the analysis, said: “Using nicotine in any form, including patches and gum, means you’ll be regarded as a smoker; you have to be nicotine free for 12 months to get the lower premiums.”
Source: Express, 22 July 2018
PMI’s iQOS device being blamed for poor stock-market performance
Philip Morris International (PMI) recently delivered a ‘disappointing’ earnings report which showed a significant slowdown in their heat-not-burn primary market: Japan. The shares of PMI are down 30% in the past year, a substantial reduction. The relatively poor performance of iQOS is largely what is behind PMI’s large stock market falls.
iQOS is PMI’s flagship heat-not-burn product and it was first introduced in selected Japanese sites in 2014 and rolled out across the country last year. Initially iQOS did well, with unit shipments soon surpassing those of traditional cigarettes. However, the Japanese market is an anomaly in that competition for iQOS is effectively banned. The e-liquids used in electronic cigarettes are regulated as a pharmaceutical ingredient, which effectively prevents sales of e-cigarettes. This has allowed the heat-not-burn iQOS device to be sold with little competition.
The popularity of iQOS in Japan has since waned; PMI said they have reached all the ‘early adopters’ of the new technology and now has to try and convince ‘more conservative’ smokers to switch to the product.
Source: Yahoo Finance, 22 July 2018
Honduras appeals WTO landmark ruling on Australia’s plain tobacco packaging
Honduras has appealed against a World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruling won last month by Australia on its plain packaging requirements for tobacco, a WTO spokesman said on Friday. In a landmark ruling officially passed on the 29th June 2018, the WTO panel said Australia’s law improved public health by reducing the use of tobacco products, rebuffing claims that alternative measures would be equally effective.
It also rejected the argument that Australia had unjustifiably infringed tobacco trademarks and violated intellectual property rights.
Source: Reuters, 20 July 2018