Clear The Air News Tobacco Blog Rotating Header Image

HOW TO REPORT A SMOKING OFFENSE IN HONG KONG

Download (PDF, 276KB)

E-cigs Danger: 10 Puffs Pushes Up Your Risk of Heart Disease

https://www.newsghana.com.gh/e-cigs-danger-10-puffs-pushes-up-your-risk-of-heart-disease/

Scientists at the world-renowned Karolinska Institute in Stockholm have discovered that just ten puffs on an e-cig is enough to trigger physiological changes that, in the words of one leading expert, ‘start the heart disease ball rolling’.

This study follows others which have found that – just like ‘real’ cigarettes – e-cigs raise blood pressure and promote a hardening of the arteries.

Separate research indicates that the food additives used to flavour the vapour could be dangerous when heated and inhaled.

And another hotly disputed study, published earlier this year, even suggested that those who vape are 28 per cent less likely to quit tobacco than those who do not.

Despite all this, a number of medical organisations in the UK strongly support encouraging smokers to switch from tobacco to e-cigarettes.

Public Health England has issued a statement saying the devices are ‘around 95 per cent less harmful than smoking’. And only last week the Royal College of GPs told its 52,000 members to advise those trying to give up smoking to switch to e-cigarettes.

However, critics of this approach are unconvinced by such enthusiasm.

Martin McKee, professor of European public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: ‘Many health organisations across the UK have significant concerns about promoting e-cigarettes to smokers.

‘We simply can’t know what their effect will be on health, if used over the long term, because they have not been around long enough.

‘To me, it would be sensible to take a precautionary approach and regulate them as much as possible.’

And Dr Filippos Filippidis, lecturer in public health at Imperial College, London, said: ‘We don’t know whether we may start to see diseases emerge in ten or 20 years’ time associated with some of the ingredients. We urgently need more research into the devices.’ His warning is particularly pertinent because it took decades for the link between tobacco and lung cancer to emerge.

It became clear only thanks to the pioneering work of statistician Sir Richard Doll in the 1950s – work that has saved millions of lives.

In the Karolinska study, published in the journal Atherosclerosis, Swedish researchers took 16 occasional smokers of cigarettes and asked them to each take ten puffs on an e-cigarette.

Within the first hour, there was a ‘rapid rise’ in levels of a type of cell indicating damage to the inner lining of blood vessels, called endothelial progenitor cells or EPCs, said the scientists. This increase, they wrote ‘was of the same magnitude as following smoking of one traditional cigarette’.

This ‘very short exposure to e-cigarette vapour… may indicate an impact on vascular integrity leading to future atherosclerosis’ – better known as hardening of the arteries.

Levels of EPCs only returned to normal 24 hours later.

Professor Joep Perk, a heart specialist and spokesman for the European Society of Cardiology, said: ‘It really surprises me that so little vapour from an e-cigarette is needed to start the heart disease ball rolling.

‘It’s worrying that one e-cigarette can trigger such a response.’

So will long-term use of e-cigs cause heart disease? That remains to be seen. But the Swedish team noted that the average user takes 230 puffs a day – raising the prospect that prolonged use could cause serious damage.

Nor is this study alone. In August, a team at the University of Athens Medical School claimed that puffing on an e-cigarette for half an hour led to similar levels of stiffness in the aorta – the main artery – as smoking a tobacco cigarette. Both activities raised blood pressure, too.

Study leader Professor Charalambos Vlachopulos said at the time: ‘E-cigarettes are less harmful [than smoking tobacco] but they are not harmless.

‘I wouldn’t recommend them as a method of giving up smoking.’

New research is coming thick and fast. Last month, an American study found teenagers who used e-cigarettes were 71 per cent more likely to suffer bronchitis.

On Friday, another study claimed just one puff contained up to 270 times the safe level of toxic chemicals called aldehydes.

But it is a study in the journal Lancet Respiratory Medicine – which found e-cig users were 28 per cent less likely to quit tobacco smoking than those who didn’t vape – that has perhaps caused the most dispute. This finding matters because the vast majority of e-cig users are those trying to quit tobacco.

Co-author Stanton Glantz wrote: ‘While there is no question that a puff on an e-cigarette is less dangerous than a puff on a conventional cigarette, the most dangerous thing about e-cigarettes is that they keep people smoking conventional cigarettes.’

His findings have been leapt on by e-cig sceptics, who frequently quote the headline result.

But e-cig advocates have dismissed it as unscientific and even ‘grossly misleading’.

Peter Hajek, of the Tobacco Dependency Research Unit at Queen Mary, University of London, said it looked only at current smokers who had used e-cigarettes in the past – ignoring ex-smokers who had given up tobacco thanks to the devices.

Advocates of getting smokers to swap tobacco for e-cigarettes now fear their simple message – that switching saves lives – is getting lost in a cloud of confusion.

Smoking claims the lives of 93,000 people in the UK every year – accounting for almost one in every five deaths – as it significantly increases the risk of killer diseases including cancer, heart disease, and a lung condition called chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder.

Professor John Britton, director of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies at Nottingham University, said: ‘The decision to switch should be a no-brainer… There’s nothing worse you could do for your health than smoke.’

And e-cigarettes did help 18,000 people quit smoking last year, according to research by University College London and Cancer Research UK.

Scientists such as Dr Britton believe that, despite the lurking dangers of e-cigarettes, they could deliver huge benefits to the country’s overall health.

To that end, a group of 13 health bodies, led by Public Health England and including Cancer Research UK, the Royal College of Physicians and Faculty of Public Health, issued an unprecedented ‘consensus statement’ in July supporting the principle that smokers should be encouraged to switch.

They wrote: ‘We all agree that e-cigarettes are significantly less harmful than smoking.

‘One in two lifelong smokers dies from their addiction.

‘All the evidence suggests that the health risks posed by e-cigarettes are relatively small by comparison, but we must continue to study the long-term effects.’

They concluded: ‘The public health opportunity is in helping smokers to quit, so we may encourage smokers to try vaping.’

Yet this position is ‘out of step’ with opinion in the US and Europe, according to Prof McKee and Dr Filippidis, where health bodies are far more cautious.

Dr Filippidis said: ‘Only time will tell who is right, but my personal opinion is that some more caution would be prudent until the evidence is more clear.

‘Very soon, major tobacco companies will enter the market with their own e-cigarettes or similar products that promise harm reduction.

‘I would feel very uncomfortable promoting products created by companies which have caused so much death and pain.

‘I don’t think we could trust them with our people’s health.’

How Edinburgh University doctor Judith Mackay took on the tobacco industry in Asia

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/14945140.Meet_the_Edinburgh_pensioner_who__39_s_the_most_dangerous_woman_in_the_world_in_the_eyes_of_Big_Tobacco/

HER’s is a career involving death threats, secret information passed from shadowy ‘Deep Throat’ figures, being held at gunpoint, and caught up in a trial in which key witnesses were murdered or mysteriously disappeared.

But it might be surprising to learn that these are not the experiences of a spy or globe-trotting investigative journalist, instead they are the experiences of a down-to-earth public health expert from Edinburgh.

Dr Judith Mackay, who studied medicine at Edinburgh University and is a member of the university’s Global Health Academy, has spent years battling the tobacco industry in Asia.

Now, for the first time the Hong Kong-based campaigner has revealed the full extent of the threats she faced in her career, during which she was branded as the most dangerous woman in the world by the international tobacco industry.

She told the Sunday Herald how she was for many years a “lone voice” in working at the forefront of tobacco control, trying raise awareness of the health risks of smoking and advising governments.

“Somebody once asked me do you have to be brave to be a tobacco control advocate today and my answer is no, I don’t think you do,” she said. “But I was the lone voice in the wilderness – I was basically the only person in Asia working on tobacco control regionally.

“The tobacco industry had just assumed it would ride its Marlboro cowboy into Asia and there wouldn’t be any opposition at all.”

Mackay, who was born in Yorkshire, moved to Hong Kong in 1967 at the peak of the Chinese Cultural revolution and spent a number of years working as a hospital doctor.

However she began to feel like the work was a ‘band-aid’ in having to treat so many people who had become ill as a consequence of smoking.

She decided to devote her career to tackling the industry full-time in the mid-1980s after a cigarette company attacked her work.

She said: “It [the company] was making a lot of threatening statements about how I was unaccountable and unrepresentative, claiming the tobacco industry was full of good sensible corporate advice. It was one of the turning points in my life.”

Mackay outlined the experiences she has gone through in a blog written for the ‘Dangerous Woman Project’ , which is being run by Edinburgh University’s Institute of Advanced Studies in the Humanities to collate stories of women who have been labelled as ‘threatening’.

She told how she has suffered verbal abuse over the years and in 1993, a US smokers’ rights group described her as a “psychotic human garbage, a gibbering Satan, an insane psychotic just like Hitler.”

The group also threatened to “utterly destroy” her – which was investigated by the FBI and led to her being offered 24-hour police protection by the Hong Kong government.

Mackay, who is a senior policy advisor for the World Health Organisation and director and founder of the Asian Consultancy on Tobacco Control, also had a chilling experience when she was an expert witness in a major trial involving cigarettes being smuggled into China.

The chief witness was murdered and eleven others disappeared – and Mackay discovered that she was being followed.

She helped the Hong Kong government take action against the importation and sale of smokeless tobacco, such as snuff, after she learned a ‘Deep Throat’ figure associated with the US tobacco industry had blown the whistle on a plan to immediately launch these products in the country.

In 1990, while she was working in Mongolia and staying at a government guest house, she found herself being held at gunpoint by suspicious Mongolian palace guards after going for an evening walk. She also found out there had been a cabinet meeting held to discuss whether she was a spy sent from the west.

But Mackay said her experiences had not deterred her from the fight against tobacco.

She said: “I have said – even to my lawyer – that if I were to disappear or to be found under a bus, this is not of my own doing.

“I think if anything I got very empowered by all these things that happened – it made me more determined, rather than less determined.

“But I did take some practical steps – one of which was to send our two boys when they were teenagers back to Scotland to school.

“I just felt they were safer back in the UK to finish their schooling.”

Mackay, whose husband is from Lossiemouth, still spends three months of the summer every year in Edinburgh.

The recognition for her work includes being named as one of the most influential people in the world by Time magazine in 2007. She was also awarded an honorary degree by Edinburgh University in July this year.

At the age of 73, she practises tai-chi and has no intention of giving up her work.

Mackay said while much progress has been made in tobacco control, she believes she will still be tackling the tobacco industry for years to come.

“The tobacco industry is certainly as formidable as it ever was – it has just somewhat changed its tactics in terms of what it does,” she said.

“What they now do is to issue legal challenges and trade threats to governments.”

She added: “I have often said I am going to be working until I am 100 and I think that is probably true.”

Doubt cast on ‘safer’ tobacco vaporiser

Advocacy groups are casting doubt over claims a new kind of cigarette called Iqos is less harmful than traditional tobacco products.

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/health/doubt-cast-on-safer-tobacco-vaporiser-35261612.html

Big tobacco company Philip Morris has reportedly invested US$3bn (€2.8bn) on developing the technology.

It works like a vaporiser, by heating tobacco without burning it. The company claims the vapour still contains nicotine, but has 10pc less harmful ingredients.

But the Asthma Society of Ireland has pointed to claims made in the past by the tobacco industry, to raise concerns over these claims.

“Tobacco companies lied for years about the link between smoking and cancer.

“Now Marlboro manufacturer Philip Morris is making fresh health claims. We would be crazy to believe them without independent proof,” CEO of the organisation Averil Power said.

“Tobacco companies will do and say anything to sell their products,” she added.

Donal Buggy, head of services and advocacy at the Irish Cancer Society, backed the scepticism.

“There is no such thing as a safe cigarette. The only safe level of consumption of cigarettes is none whatsoever,” he said.

Irish Independent

Big Tobacco Gets Into Retail Storefronts

British American Tobacco and Philip Morris International have both opened stores to educate consumers on how to vape.

http://www.nacsonline.com/Media/Daily/Pages/ND1202162.aspx

Big tobacco firms are getting into the retail business more directly than in past years. British American Tobacco (BAT) has opened a store in Milan to sell Vype, its e-cig product, while Philip Morris International has stores in England, Italy, Japan and Switzerland to promote its heat-not-burn product iQOS, the Wall Street Journal reports.

For BAT, the strategy to having an actual store extends beyond selling electronic cigarettes. The firm wants to use the location as another way to promote new products, such as Pebble, a Vype-branded vaping device that debuted yesterday. “If we’re going to massify the market—inject life into it—we have to come up with these innovative, groundbreaking products,” said Kingsley Wheaton, who heads BAT’s next-generation products.

This increased emphasis on connecting with customers on the ground comes as sales of cigarettes continue to soften. Philip Morris even said this week that the company could stop selling traditional cigarettes one day and is focusing on developing tobacco alternatives.

BAT CEO Nicandro Durante has a long-term view in mind when it comes to e-cigs and other vaping devices, which have experienced slow growth. Wheaton predicted that next-generation products will reach $18.7 billion within five years, but he doesn’t see cigarettes disappearing altogether.

BAT Bets on Vaping as Tobacco Makers Do Battle With New Devices

http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/bat-bets-on-vaping-as-tobacco-makers-do-battle-with-new-devices/42723034

Trailing Philip Morris International Inc. in the contest to move smoking alternatives beyond e-cigarettes is just fine with British American Tobacco Plc.

According to Kingsley Wheaton, head of BAT’s next-generation products, longer-established electronic products hold more promise than the heat-not-burn technology pioneered by its main rival. The high acceptance of Philip Morris’s iQOS tobacco device in its debut market of Japan won’t be easy to replicate elsewhere, he said in an interview Thursday.

“Are we behind Philip Morris on the tobacco-heating journey? The answer is yes,” Wheaton said. “But we have a different take. Vapor is going to be a bigger category worldwide.”

More than 1 million smokers have switched to Philip Morris’s iQOS since it first went on sale in 2014. Demand has proven strongest so far in Japan, where Philip Morris has had a two-year headstart on BAT. While analysts at Exane BNP Paribas and Wells Fargo say the Marlboro maker has invented the most promising smoking substitute, BAT contends that heat-not-burn will only become dominant in a few countries, and that Japan alone may represent as much as half of the potential demand.

“Japanese consumers are very tech-savvy and vapor is banned,” Wheaton said. “The consumer is highly socially considerate and really worried about their hygiene impact on others. When you put all that together, you create a real melting pot of reasons why tobacco heating will work in Japan.”

Companies Divided

Tobacco companies are divided on where the future of their $770 billion industry lies. Philip Morris Chief Executive Officer Andre Calantzopoulos has said his company may one day stop making traditional cigarettes as the market for alternative products takes hold. His non-combustible iQOS devices have taken a 5 percent share of the Japanese market.

While BAT plans to compete against its rival with a heat-not-burn product called Glo, Wheaton said the bulk of his company’s efforts will remain in the vapor market.

In the second half of next year, BAT will start selling a new product called Vype Raptor. The device gets nicotine into the bloodstream faster and more closely mimics the sensation of smoking because the vapor particles are larger, according to BAT.

The company is also opening a store in a fashionable neighborhood of Milan as well as pop-up shops in London to sell Vype-branded vapor products. And it will introduce a 17.99-pound ($23) brightly-colored plastic device called Pebble that delivers nicotine infused with flavors such as wild berry and smooth vanilla.

BAT aims to sell vapor products in more than 15 markets by the end of next year, according to next-generation marketing director Frederico Monteiro. It currently has a presence in 10 and plans to be in 30 to 40 markets by 2020.

Scientists say flavoured e-cigarettes 250 times more toxic than recommended safety level

According to a recent study, some additives break down into toxic compounds that dramatically exceed guidance for occupational health when converted into vapour

http://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/health/scientists-say-flavoured-e-cigarettes-9374556

One puff of a flavoured e-cigarette can expose a smoker to cancer causing chemicals that are more than 250 times the recommended safety level, say scientists.

When converted into a vapour, some additives break down into toxic compounds that dramatically exceed guidance for occupational health, according to the study.

Previous research has identified the ingredients in vapour flavourings, but very little has been done to determine what happens when they are transformed inside the device.

A growing body of evidence has shown the heat that converts e-liquids into vapour decomposes its contents.

This chemical breakdown produces toxic aldehydes, including formaldehyde, during the rapid heating process that happens inside the devices.

Aldehydes are members of a class of organic chemical compounds used in the textile, food, rubber, plastics, leather, chemical and health care industries.

So Dr Andrey Khlystov and colleague analysed vapours created from both unflavoured and flavoured e-liquids loaded into three popular types of e-cigarettes.

The tests for 12 different aldehydes showed the amount of potentially harmful compounds varied widely across e-liquid brands and flavours.

But in general one puff of flavoured vapour contained levels of aldehydes 1.5 to 270 times above the safe thresholds for occupational exposure set by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists.

Vapours from unflavored e-liquids contained aldehydes at significantly lower levels, reports the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Dr Khlystov, of the Desert Research Institute, Nevada, said: “The growing popularity of electronic cigarettes raises concerns about the possibility of adverse health effects to primary users and people exposed to e cigarette vapours.

“E-cigarettes offer a very wide variety of flavours, which is one of the main factors that attract new, especially young, users.

“How flavouring compounds in e-cigarette liquids affect the chemical composition and toxicity of e-cigarette vapors is practically unknown.

“Although e-cigarettes are marketed as safer alternatives to traditional cigarettes, several studies have demonstrated formation of toxic aldehydes in e-cigarette vapours during vaping.”

Sales of e-cigarettes have been rising steadily since they first went on sale in the UK, in 2007. They are now used by nearly three million people in the UK.

In the past few years, they have replaced nicotine patches and gum to become the most popular choice of smoking cessation aid in England.

It is illegal to sell e-cigs to under-18s in the UK – but their use among teenagers is growing.

Use of e-cigarettes among under-18s rose from 5 per cent in 2013 to 8 per cent in 2014 – and some experts are concerned that they may act as a ‘gateway’ to smoking tobacco.

Added Dr Khlystov: “So far, aldehyde formation has been attributed to thermal decomposition of the main components of e-cigarette e-liquids (propylene glycol and glycerol), while the role of flavouring compounds has been ignored.

“In this study, we have measured several toxic aldehydes produced by three popular brands of e-cigarettes with flavoured and unflavoured e-liquids.

“We show that, within the tested e-cigarette brands, thermal decomposition of flavouring compounds dominates formation of aldehydes during vaping, producing levels that exceed occupational safety standards.

“Production of aldehydes was found to be exponentially dependent on concentration of flavouring compounds.

“These findings stress the need for a further, thorough investigation of the effect of flavouring compounds on the toxicity of e-cigarettes.”

E-cigarette liquids are marketed in nearly 8,000 different flavours, according to a 2014 report by the World Health Organisation .

Recent reports show many of these flavours, such as Gummy Bear, Tutti Fruity, and Bubble Gum, are especially appealing to teens and kids, encouraging them to use the devices.

The Electronic Cigarette Industry Trade Association said the results reflected “dry puff”, when too little liquid reaching the heating element causes overheating.

It added: “Levels like these are extremely unlikely to reflect real-world exposures.”

UK court rejects tobacco companies’ appeal on plain packaging

http://in.reuters.com/article/us-tobacco-court-appeal-idINKBN13P1ED

A UK court has dismissed an appeal brought by some of Britain’s largest tobacco companies over the government’s new plain packaging rules.

In its decision handed down on Wednesday, the court dismissed all appeals brought by British American Tobacco, Japan Tobacco, Imperial Brands and several paper manufacturers.

The companies argued that the law, which went into effect in May, unlawfully deprives them of their intellectual property by banning the use of all marketing on packages, including logos, colors and special fonts.

“This is a victory for public health and another crushing defeat for the tobacco industry,” said Deborah Arnott, chief executive of health charity Action on Smoking and Health.

“This ruling should also encourage other countries to press ahead with standardized packaging, now that the industry’s arguments have yet again been shown to be without foundation.”

BAT, the world’s second-biggest tobacco company, called the decision “disappointing” and said it was considering its options carefully.

(Reporting by Martinne Geller in London; Editing by Louise Heavens, Greg Mahlich)

CEO of Philip Morris, world’s largest tobacco company, says he may phase out cigarettes

https://mic.com/articles/160767/ceo-of-philip-morris-world-s-largest-tobacco-company-says-he-may-phase-out-cigarettes#.8BMja44a1

Sick of hearing about how cool vaping is? Better get used to it, because the CEO of Philip Morris International recently mused that vapes will one day replace cigarettes — ideally, one day soon. The company has launched its IQOS “smokeless cigarette” in the United Kingdom, Reuters reported Wednesday, a step toward its potentially smokeless future.

“I believe there will come a moment in time where I would say we have sufficient adoption of these alternative products … to start envisaging, together with governments, a phase-out period for cigarettes,” André Calantzopoulos told BBC Radio 4. He added that he hoped that moment would arrive “soon.”

Calantzopoulos heads the world’s largest international tobacco company, its 53 production centers in 33 countries making upwards of 870 billion cigarettes annually.

According to the World Health Organization, tobacco kills some 6 million people globally each year. During his interview with BBC, Calantzopoulos acknowledged the danger.

The CEO believes the IQOS — which is already available in Japan, Switzerland, Italy and a handful of other countries — is a safer alternative to cigarettes because it heats tobacco rather than burning it.

“We produce a product that causes disease and I think the primary responsibility that we have once the technology is available — and today the technology is available — is to develop products like these and to commercialize them as soon as possible,” he said.

Asked if Philip Morris wasn’t motivated by “concern for future business,” rather than concern for consumers, Calantzopoulos noted that PMI didn’t invent cigarettes and that, by 2025, the world will still be home to more than 1 billion smokers.

“I think, for us, [the responsibility] is to offer consumers the best product we can in a category that we all know is addictive and causes harm,” he said.

The IQOS isn’t a typical electronic cigarette running on nicotine juice. Rather, it’s an electronic holder in which consumers can insert mini-cigarettes. According to BBC, a pack of 20 will cost roughly $9.99. The device itself, which comes with a charger, resembles “a small, dumpy mobile phone,” to borrow BBC’s phrasing, and will run consumers around $56.

PMI hopes the IQOS will appeal more to cigarette smokers than e-cigs have. And while such alternatives appear to be far safer than traditional cigarettes, as Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health, told BBC Radio 4, “We still need to be very cautious about what the industry’s up to.” Tobacco companies’ foremost interest is in selling tobacco.

“If Philip Morris really wants to see the end of smoking, then they have to stop promoting smoking to new young smokers around the world,” she said. “If these products can help adult smokers quit, then all well and good, but they still need regulating as tobacco products.”

For his part, Calantzopoulos vowed that Philip Morris will do “everything we can to convince them [smokers] to switch to this product.”

Big Tobacco threatens Supreme Court fight after losing plain packaging appeal

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/11/30/big-tobacco-threatens-supreme-court-fight-losing-packaging-appeal/

The world’s largest tobacco companies have threatened to take their battle against the Government’s plain packaging policy to the UK’s highest courts after losing their latest appeal against the branding crackdown.

The court of appeal today upheld legislation that forces all tobacco products to use uniform packaging in a ruling described by anti-smoking groups as a “crushing defeat” for the tobacco industry.

The latest blow to cigarette-makers British American Tobacco, Imperial, Japan Tobacco International and Philip Morris International follows their failed court challenge in May this year, one month after the new anti-tobacco legislation came into effect.

Under the new rules all tobacco packaging must be olive green and include large images showing the negative health consequences of smoking as a visual deterrent.

Tobacco companies have repeatedly branded the move unlawful and say it will be ineffective at reducing smoking rates. They will continue to oppose the regulation despite a second legal defeat. The exception to the industry-wide defiance is PMI, which said in May that it would focus on developing its smoke-free products rather than fight the case.

Daniel Sciamma, the UK managing director of Japan Tobacco, said that the company was already considering an appeal to the Supreme Court.

“This commercial vandalism sets a dangerous precedent for other targeted industries, who must be concerned that their brands will now be under threat. We obviously disagree with the court’s decision as it endorses the confiscation of our brands,” Mr Sciamma said.

Meanwhile BAT warned that the court decision “does not necessarily mark the end of the challenge” and a spokesman for Imperial said that it was reviewing the judgement before considering its legal position.

Jefferies analyst Owen Bennett said the impact of plain packaging would weigh most heavily on Imperial and Winston and Camel maker Japan Tobacco, which both rely on the UK for around 15pc of their overall earnings

For Marlboro maker PMI and BAT, the UK market makes up less than 1pc of their business.

Despite the minority exposure to the UK market the tobacco companies still have a strong incentive to fight the clampdown, which could spur similar legislation in other markets.

“Seeing results such as this may actually encourage other markets to follow suit,” said Mr Bennett, adding that should other countries wish to implement plain packaging in the years ahead then the outcome of any challenges would most likely be the same.

Ireland’s investment body could be stopped investing in tobacco – but doesn’t invest very much in tobacco

The NTMA’s investments in the companies are made through fund managers.

http://www.thejournal.ie/tobacco-investment-ban-proposal-3107307-Nov2016/

A LAW HAS been proposed that would see Ireland’s Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) banned from investing in tobacco companies.

The proposal was floated by Fianna Fáil Seanad Spokesperson on Health and Mental Health, Dr Keith Swanick.

Under questioning by the Seanad in October, Minister of State Eoghan Murphy confirmed that the taxpayer, through the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) and ISIF has equity holdings in three separate tobacco companies.

Swanick says that situation cannot be allowed to continue.

His Public Health (Prohibition of Tobacco Investments) Bill 2016 would make it illegal for the continuation of investments such as these and would ensure that no further investment in tobacco companies can take place with taxpayer’s money.

“This is a shocking situation and it is not tenable for the Government to turn a blind eye to these investments in tobacco companies. It is incredible to believe that the state holds investment in tobacco companies and it makes a complete mockery of the stated objectives of a tobacco free Ireland by 2025, the cornerstone of ‘Tobacco Free Ireland’.”

However, just 0.02% of ISIF’s total assets are invested in tobacco firms and, a spokesperson told TheJournal.ie, they may not continue investing in them anyway.

“Historically, exclusion has not been part of ISIF’s Responsible Investment strategy – with the only exclusions from the Fund being mandated by legislation. To date, the Cluster Munitions and Anti-Personnel Mines Act (2008) is the only relevant legislation and the ISIF operates a prohibited securities list of 19 companies on this basis.

ISIF management and the NTMA Board’s Investment Committee are currently reviewing the Sustainability and Responsible Investment Policy to examine the potential of adding to the list of excluded investment categories. This process is expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2017.

In relation to investment in tobacco companies, on the basis of preliminary and unaudited figures for end Quarter 3 2016 i.e. as at 30 September 2016 ISIF had equity holdings in three tobacco companies with a value of €1.5 million or 0.02% of its total assets.

The state also has small equity investments in international companies involved in the development of armaments, such as Canadian group Bombardier, French firms Thales and Boeing, and the US’s Airbus Group and United Technologies.

The NTMA’s investments in the companies are made through fund managers, rather than the organisation actively selecting the firms or industries.