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Tobacco firms denied plain pack appeal

The UK supreme court has made a final decision, denying tobacco firms permission to appeal against plain packaging.

http://www.packagingnews.co.uk/news/markets/tobacco/tobacco-firms-denied-plain-pack-appeal-12-04-2017

The decision means that all cigarettes sold in the UK after 20 May must come in the standardised packaging that’s been increasingly appearing in shops during the trial period over the last year.

There will also no longer be packs of 10 cigarettes available in a move designed to deter young people from taking up smoking. For the same reason menthol cigarettes are being phased out but more gradually. They will disappear from shelves by May 2020.

Last November, British American Tobacco, Imperial Brands, Japan Tobacco International (JTI) and Philip Morris International went to the supreme court after the court of appeal claiming that the plain pack law would infringe their human and intellectual property rights but he appeal was rejected.

Any hopes the companies might have had that there was still a slim chance a challenge could be mounted will have been dashed by the final ruling.

The health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, welcomed the supreme court’s decision, saying: “Standardised packaging will cut smoking rates and reduce suffering, disease and avoidable deaths.”

Cigarettes and tobacco: what are the new rules and regulations?

The new rules have been made under new European Union law called the Tobacco Products Directive.

https://inews.co.uk/essentials/news/health/cigarettes-tobacco-new-rules-regulations/

Technically, the law came into force on 20 May last year, but companies were given a 12-month grace period to sell their old packs and bring in standardised packaging.

From next month, all tobacco must be packaged in drab, dark brown packs with no graphic branding.

standardised-packaging

The new packs are the same shape, size and colour, with two thirds of the front and back surfaces covered by pictorial health warnings, and written warnings on the sides.

From 21 May this year, anyone caught selling non-plain packs will face severe penalties.

Smokers will also no longer be able to buy smaller packs of cigarettes and rolling tobacco while menthols will be phased out completely by May 2020.

At the moment, rolling tobacco comes in 10g and 20g packets – but soon 30g will be the smallest size.

The ban includes some flavoured tobacco and cigarettes – including fruit, spice, herbs, alcohol, candy and vanilla.

There are also internal packaging requirements as well as rules for individual cigarette sticks. All other trademarks, logos, colour schemes and promotional images are prohibited.

Cost of cigarettes

A pack of cigarettes is now at least £8.81, which campaigners say is a key factor in making people quit smoking.

Action on Smoking and Health believe that removing the packet of ten cigarettes this means people will have to find that extra money for a packet.

“It will hit poorer and younger smokers harder who are more likely to buy smaller packs,” a spokesperson said.

Smokers’ rights group Forest said the new rules “treat adults like children and teenagers like idiots”.

New vaping laws will also come into force next month restricting sale of e-liquids and e-cigarettes.

Among the rules are: refillable tanks must have a capacity of no more than 2ml, e-liquids can not be sold in quantities greater than 10ml and e-liquid packaging must be child-resistant and tamper evident.

 

What the new tobacco and cigarette packaging laws mean

Ten packs and smaller tobacco bags are out, while standard plain covers are in

http://www.theweek.co.uk/83551/what-the-new-tobacco-and-cigarette-packaging-laws-mean

New laws that standardise the appearance of tobacco packets and limit the range of products on offer come into force next month after a bid to halt the legislation was thrown out by the Supreme Court.

What was the Supreme Court ruling about?

Four tobacco giants took legal action in a last-ditch attempt to stop the introduction of mandatory plain packaging on cigarettes sold in the UK.

They argued the law would infringe their human and intellectual property rights by making their products indistinguishable. In addition, they also questioned evidence that plain packaging would deter smokers.

However, Judge Nicholas Green, who heard the original application for a judicial review of the 2015 legislation, ruled the regulations “were lawful when they were promulgated by parliament and they are lawful now in the light of the most up-to-date evidence”.

What happens on 21 May?

All cigarette packets will come in a single shade of “opaque couche” – a muddy green which The Sun describes as “the world’s ugliest colour”.

Brand names will be written in a standard font, size and location on the pack, while health warnings will cover at least 65 per cent of the box or packet. They can also no longer carry words such as “lite”, “natural” or “organic” and menthol cigarettes will be phased out completely by 2020.

Smokers will additionally not be able to buy smaller packs of cigarettes or rolling tobacco. Packets of ten are being axed, as are 10g (a third of an ounce) and 20g packs (0.7oz) of rolling tobacco.

Amanda Sanford, spokeswoman for Action on Smoking and Health (Ash), told the Liverpool Echo that banning smaller packers was intended to deter younger smokers who are more likely to buy them because they are cheaper.

Technically, the law came into force on 20 May 2016, but tobacco companies were given a 12-month period to standardise packaging and dispose of old stock. From 21 May this year, anyone breaking the new rules faces strict penalties.

Is this a good move?

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said standardised packaging “will cut smoking rates and reduce suffering, disease and avoidable deaths”, while government chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies says she was “thrilled” the tobacco industry was not allowed to appeal.

However, smokers rights group Forest said the new rules “treat adults like children and teenagers like idiots”.

Is the UK the first country to do this?

No. Australia led the way with a law that meant tobacco products on sale after 1 December 2012 had to carry plain packaging and French packaging legislation came into effect at the start of 2017. Similar laws in Ireland, Hungary and New Zealand have not yet been rolled out.

How tobacco firms flout UK law on plain packaging

Brands use competitive price labels to avoid restrictions on marketing

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/apr/09/tobacco-companies-flout-law-plain-packaging

An insider in the tobacco industry has revealed some of the unscrupulous tactics it is using to avoid new restrictions governing the marketing of cigarettes that come into force next month.

One strategy – sticking competitive pricing labels on packets, a move designed to attract cost-conscious poorer smokers who make up the majority of the market – is already in breach of the regulations, according to legal advice obtained by Action on Smoking and Health (Ash).

The whistleblower, until recently employed by Imperial Tobacco, one of the UK’s largest companies, told the Observer that all four of the industry’s main players were employing a range of branding initiatives involving pack design to differentiate their products before the new regulations come into force on 20 May. From this date, cigarettes must be sold in dark green packs of 20 that carry health warnings covering at least 65% of the box.

Plain packaging was first introduced in May last year. “Any branded stock you see out there now will have been produced before 20 May last year,” said the whistleblower who used the pseudonym, Martin Sempah. “So the cigarette companies have been on a massive stock building exercise to make sure they have their branded packs in the market for as long as possible, to leverage the brand benefit.” But, under the new regulations, any packs manufactured after 20 May last year must be devoid of eye-catching price labels, something that severely limits the tobacco companies’ ability to market them aggressively.

“Price with cigarettes is massive,” Sempah said. “It’s what drives growth in market share. You get your price mark wrong and you can lose market share and millions. The issue for Imperial was that from 20 May 2016 until 20 May 2017 they’d have branded packs out there but no way of controlling the price on them.”

The solution was to employ a separate agency to add promotional price stickers to the packets’ cellophane wrappers, a practice known in the trade as “stickering”, that, according to Sempah, involved “millions and millions” of packs and which the tobacco firms insist is not in breach of the regulations because it is not part of the manufacturing process.

Imperial employed an agency called Clipper to add the stickers, Sempah said. Ash has written to the other three major tobacco companies –JTI, BAT and PMI – saying it is aware that they have been employing a similar strategy.

The health organisation has received a legal opinion from Peter Oliver, a barrister at Monckton Chambers, that suggests the strategy breaches the regulations which state that cigarette packets must be wrapped in cellophane that is “clear and transparent” and must not be “coloured or marked”.

“Once again, the tobacco companies seem to be stretching the law to snapping point,” said Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Ash. “They have already wasted thousands of legal hours and millions of pounds in fees trying to get the standardised packaging rules scrapped and failed miserably. Now it seems they are trying to get round the rules, by adding stickers to cigarette packs after the 20 May 2016 and claiming that this is not part of the production process. But, as our legal opinion confirms, such claims are false and the behaviour unlawful. We would like to see appropriate enforcement action taken against any tobacco manufacturer engaged in this practice without delay.”

Stickering is only one weapon in the industry’s arsenal, Sempah suggested. “When the regulations came out they started to look for loopholes. They said: how can we use particular varnishes and finishes on our plain packs to make them more tactile in a person’s hands, to make them more attractive? Do we use a different type of foil? If you look at a pack of Marlboro Gold it has got a trademark type of foil – it’s resealable. There are methods they are using to get round the regulations to increase the brand equity in their packs.”

Another strategy is to use key words to signify different “strengths” of cigarette – something that is banned. The word “real” is being used to suggest “full flavour” while “bright” denotes cigarettes that were once labelled ‘light’.

Two, separately wrapped, packs of 10 cigarettes inserted inside a 20-size pack have been developed to appeal to smokers who prefer smaller packs.“They’re going to be investing a lot more in festivals and nightclubs,” Sempah said. “You can’t say ‘sponsored by’ but you can create a fantastic experience which kind of looks like a cigarette brand.

“For example, last year Golden Virginia did stuff at the Latitude festival. They had a bar and a smoking area – all green furniture and green T-shirts for staff. It was a slightly different green from Golden Virginia and it was called Roll and Rock rather than Golden Virginia but at the bar you could only buy Golden Virginia.”

In their written responses to Ash all four tobacco companies and Clipper insisted that they complied with all the regulations. Sempah said most in the tobacco industry doubted the marketing strategies would have much of an impact in the long run. “Nobody really expects this to work, but there’s so many big salaries tied up in marketing in the tobacco companies they have to try to make it work.”

Bright’s Path of Maldon High Street set to ban smoking on premises completely from April 1

SMOKERS will be banned from lighting up in a Maldon town centre street from next month, it has been announced.

http://www.maldonandburnhamstandard.co.uk/news/15174390.Boutique_shops_street_set_to_go_smoke_free_from_April/

Shoppers will no longer be able to smoke outside Bright’s Path, the row of boutique businesses off Maldon High Street, from April 1. Vaping will still be allowed.

The shopping area features independent businesses for several years such as Mrs Salisbury’s Famous Tea Rooms, Chameleon Jewellery, Sew In Pressed, Rock Hard Candy and newcomer Little Poppets’ Baby Boutique.

Owner Mark Salisbury said statistics showing tobacco sales in the UK were at the lowest in recorded history meant now was the right time for the ban on the privately owned area.

He said: “We’ve been really keen on the idea for some time now, as we have a great deal of outdoor space.

“Our client range has a lot of mothers with young children and families, many of whom are not a fan of the effects of many people smoking when sitting out here.

“This may prove controversial and frustrate some people, but with the summer season approaching we’re going to have more people coming along to sit outside, and when the majority of our clients support the idea, we feel it’s the best time to do it.”

Mr Salisbury also owns the Continental Café further up the High Street which also has an outdoor seating area, where smoking will still be allowed.

He added: “With the news the government brought out the sales are the lowest that they have ever been, we felt if we’re going to do it, it’s now or never.

“The Continental will still allow smoking, and we’re allowing vaping in Bright’s Path, but my wife and I reached the stage where we feel enough is enough and we’re pushing through with it.”

Julie Ciniglio, of Maldon Business Association, welcomed the move.

She said: “I can’t see why this would be anything but a good thing.

“We’re blessed with local independent businesses in Maldon, and the decision to ban smoking like this rests with the business owner and the voice of their clientele.

“There are still a lot of smokers around the town who may have something to say about it, but if they have support from most of their customers then it could prove successful.

“It could even work as an incentive for frequent High Street users who don’t like smoking to go to Bright’s Path more often as a place to get away.”

Workers urged to ask smokers to stop smoking in their homes during visits as part of East Cambs District Council’s new anti-smoking policy

Tough new anti smoking rules within East Cambridgeshire Council – including a ban on electronic cigarettes and making workers get their manager’s permission for a smoking break- are ready to be implemented.

http://www.elystandard.co.uk/news/workers_urged_to_ask_smokers_to_stop_smoking_in_their_homes_during_visits_as_part_of_east_cambs_district_council_s_new_anti_smoking_policy_1_4932524

With two people a week in the district dying from smoking related diseases, the council is determined it will lead by example with its compulsory ‘smoking at work’ policy.

Spencer Clark, open spaces and facilities manager, will tell the regulatory and support services committee the refreshed policy supports the council’s duty of care.

“This smoking policy will apply to all staff, elected members, visitors, contractors and others who enter any premises or vehicles used as workplaces by the council,” he says.

“The legislation applies to all council enclosed buildings, related areas and council owned vehicles”.

Mr Clark said the smoke free workplace policy is to “guarantee a healthy working environment” and protect the current and future health of staff members and the public.

Any council employee found breaching the new guidelines will face disciplinary action.

It also asks employees who visit smokers in their homes as part of their duties to ask them to consider refraining from smoking. Managers may also be asked to complete risk assessments before visits to protect employees from exposure to second-hand smoke.

Smoking in workers’ private vehicles is also strongly discouraged and those workers who do smoke must do so off-site and must get their line manager’s permission,

All visitors, contractors and deliverers must also abide by the new policy.

All premises owned and occupied by the council – including staff car parks – will be covered by the smoking ban. Those buildings owned by the council – such as E-Space North and South – which have multi tenanted offices will also be brought into the non smoking in the grounds policy.

The policy is in line with the council’s aim to reduce the number of smoke-related deaths in the district and “guarantee the right of everyone to breathe in air free of tobacco smoke.”

Statistics from Public Health England have revealed that there were 97 smoke-related deaths in East Cambridgeshire in 2016.

* Portley Hill depot, Littleport, is the only council owned property that will be allowed to retain a designated smoking area.

Budget hits smokers as price of pack of 20 cigarettes increases 35p – putting average pack of 20 to £10.26

• Tobacco duty will increase at two per cent above inflation putting prices up
• Cost of 30g pack of rolling tobacco will also rise by 44 pence from 6pm tonight
• New ‘minimum duty’ means cigarettes can not be sold for less than £8.82
• Part of series of ‘sin taxes’ which will hike price of wine, spirits and beer

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4294664/Smokers-hit-Budget-cigarette-price-rise-TONIGHT.html

Smokers have been hit by Philip Hammond’s spring Budget with the cost of a pack of 20 cigarettes rising by 35 pence tonight.

Tobacco duty will increase at two per cent above inflation under planned price hikes first announced in 2014.

The average cost of a 20-pack of premium cigarettes could now rise from £ 9.91 to £10.26, according to the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association (TMA).

It also means the price of a 30g pack of rolling tobacco will increase by 44 pence from 6pm tonight.

A new ‘minimum duty’ is separately being introduced from the 20th May based on a packet price of £7.35 – meaning it will not be possible to buy a pack of cigarettes for less than £8.82.

Cigarette makers are furious about the rises with the TMA claiming it could force buyers to turn to the black market.

The organisation’s director general Giles Roca said: ‘We are disappointed that the Government has once again raised taxation on tobacco when tax on some of the lowest priced cigarettes already accounts for 90 per cent of the price.

‘Taxation on tobacco in the UK is already the highest in the EU meaning that prices in the UK are up to four times higher than in other European countries.

‘Taxation on tobacco has also increased by over 50 per cent over the last 5 years. Today’s move will simply encourage people to buy from the black market.

During his Spring Budget speech Philip Hammond, pictured above, announced a series of so-called ‘sin taxes’ which will see the price of wine, spirits and beer increase
‘It takes business away from the legitimate trade whilst costing the taxpayer around £2.4billion in lost taxes in the last year alone.’

It is part of a series of so-called ‘sin taxes’ which will also see the price of wine, spirits and beer increase.

Duty on alcohol had not risen for five years but in today’s Spring Budget speech the Chancellor announced plans that will hike the price of a bottle of still wine by 8p.

The duty on sparkling wine will increase by 10p with a litre of gin up by 43p and a litre of vodka rising by 40p, according to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association.

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) chairman Colin Valentine said: ‘UK beer drinkers, pubs and brewers have been let down by the Chancellor’s decision to increase beer duty for the first time in five years.

‘The announced two penny a pint increase marks a return to the days when the much-hated Beer Duty Escalator contributed to 75,000 job losses, 3,700 pub closures and a 24per cent fall in beer sales in pubs.

‘The rise in beer duty will ultimately hit consumers in their pockets and lead to pub closures across the country.’

The cigarette price hike is one of a series of ‘sin tax’ increases on wine, spirits and beer.

Tax us more, world’s biggest cigarette maker tells Philip Hammond – to persuade smokers to use e-cigarettes

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/03/03/tax-us-worlds-biggest-cigarette-maker-tells-philip-hammond/

The world’s biggest tobacco company has for the first time asked to be taxed more by Chancellor Philip Hammond – to encourage smokers to switch to healthier alternatives.

Philip Morris, which makes brands such as Marlboro, said it backed an increase in taxes on its cigarettes as part of its bid to move to a “smoke-free future”.

In a Budget submission sent this week to Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, Philip Morris said “we support proportionate tax increases”.

Cancer is caused by burning the tobacco in cigarettes. Currently a packet of 20 Marlboro cigarettes costs £9.60, of which £7.10 is excise duty and VAT.

But a packet of 20 Iqos cigarettes – which heat, rather than burn the tobacco – cost £7 of which £2.94 is from excise duty and VAT. A packet of 20 Nicolite e-cigarettes cost £4.75 of which 79p is VAT.

The four page submission – a copy of which has been seen by the Telegraph – said: “Our priority is clear – to switch, as quickly as possible, hundreds of millions of adult smokers across the world to less harmful alternatives than continued smoking.

“While there is no substitute for quitting, we believe that harm reduction (ie promoting safer alternatives to those who would otherwise still smoke cigarettes) can bring significant public health benefits.”

Harm reduction was “an essential element of public health policy, and fully endorse regulatory and fiscal policies” which encourage consumers to switch from cigarettes.

Peter Nixon, UK managing director of Philip Morris, said: “We want to move towards a smoke-free future and a lot of that is incentivising people to move across from cigarettes to something that is less harmful.”

Mr Hammond is expected to confirm in Wednesday’s Budget that cigarettes will continue to be taxed at inflation plus 2 per cent.

Mr Nixon said he would not (want) taxes to be higher because that would act as an incentive for smokers to switch to illicit cigarettes that are smuggled into the UK.

MPs investing in cigarette companies, oil giants and ‘tax avoiders’ through their pension scheme

Exclusive: The Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund also invests in several US tech giants accused by MPs themselves of avoiding tax

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/mps-pension-scheme-investment-tobacco-cigarette-bat-fossil-fuels-tax-avoidance-a7607901.html

Pensions paid to British MPs are funded by the profits of cigarette companies, international oil giants and companies who MPs themselves have accused of avoiding tax, The Independent can reveal.

The Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund (PCPF), whose investments have never been made public before, ploughed more money into British American Tobacco (BAT) and oil giant BP and than any other two companies over the past year. Millions of pounds were also put into oil company Shell and controversial mining firm Rio Tinto, the list of investments shows.

The figures show BAT and BP received roughly £5.59m in investment each from MPs in 2016.

Pension funds, which channel billions of pounds to all corners of the economy, have come under pressure from campaigners to stop profiting from industries that contribute towards environmental disaster, ill health and conflict.

The £621m MP pension fund’s top 20 holdings also includes three US tech companies – Amazon, Google and Apple – that have been accused by MPs themselves of avoiding tax. Another top 20 investment is WPP, the advertising giant at the centre of a 2012 shareholder revolt on the £12.93m pay packet for its CEO Martin Sorrell.

Green MP and party co-leader Caroline Lucas, who has been pressuring the fund to reveal what it invests in for years, said the investment strategy was “deeply questionable” and that that in the case of tobacco investments there was “no excuse” for profiting from “one of the greatest public health crises of our time”.

“After years of resistance, the Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund has finally come clean and made public their top 20 holdings. This is a good first step but, as expected, the fund has a deeply questionable investment strategy investing in dirty energy and tobacco,” she told The Independent.

“The long-term financial risks associated with oil, coal and gas assets are well known, yet the trustees of the PCPF are refusing to even meet with fund members to discuss this issue.

“If we are to prevent the worst of climate change, then we must rapidly transition away from an economy run on fossil fuels by investing in the renewable energy that we have in abundance. It’s right that the MPs should lead the way on this transition.

“It is well within the scope of the fiduciary duty of pension fund trustees to account for non-financial factors – there is therefore no excuse for profiting from tobacco, an industry that is responsible for one of the greatest public health crises of our time.”

In 2014, former MP Brian Donohoe, chair of the fund’s trustee board, said tobacco investments would be “amoral” but that he did not think the fund should withdraw from investments in fossil fuels.

Health charity Ash told The Independent the revelations about tobacco investments were disturbing because they were fuelling “so much preventable illness and misery”.

“A large majority of MPs and peers understand the terrible damage that smoking does and support strong action to cut smoking rates,” said Deborah Arnott, the charity’s chief executive.

“I think they will be disturbed to see that the parliamentary pension fund is investing in an industry whose products still kill more than 100,000 people across the UK every year.

“I understand that fund trustees have a duty to get a good return from their investments, but this can be achieved without supporting an industry that causes so much preventable illness and misery.”

A number of local councils, which manage more than £230bn in pension fund investments, have led the way in divesting from fossil fuels and in imposing ethical investment policies. Authorities including Oxford City Council, Waltham Forest, and South Yorkshire have been among the first to move to divest from fossil fuels. The PCPF’s trustees, however, say it would not be lawful for them to make sweeping judgments about whether certain investments were ethical or not.

The Church of England has previously come under fire for investing in Google and said it would limit investments in fossil fuel producers.

The MP fund’s top investments as of March 2016 were £55m in UK government bonds; £5.9m in British American Tobacco; £5.9m in BP; and £4.9m apiece in Diageo, Vodafone, HSBC, Royal Dutch Shell and Reckitt Benckiser.

It also invests £3.7m in pharmaceutical company GSK; £3.1m apiece in US Treasury bonds, Lloyds Bank, and Nestle; and £2.5m in BT, JP Morgan Chase, and Google. Rio Tinto, Apple, Amazon, Hartford Financial Services and WPP net around £1.9m each from the fund. The remaining 80 per cent of the fund is invested in other smaller holdings.

ShareAction, which campaigns for responsible investments, told The Independent that the new information showed MPs like Ms Lucas were “fully justified” in their campaign to challenge the fund.

“It’s positive to see greater disclosure from the PCPF following a year of vigorous efforts by MPs to demand a more transparent approach from their scheme,” said Catherine Howarth, the group’s chief executive.

“Many MPs will be dispirited to learn that the scheme’s largest holdings are tobacco giant, BAT, and troubled oil giant, BP. In the week NEST revealed plans for a low-carbon global equities strategy, having outperformed the PCPF’s investment returns in the year gone, it would seem MPs are fully justified in challenging their trustees for answers on carbon and climate risk.”

It is understood that a group of MPs opposed to such investments are considering legal action against the pension fund if policies are not changed.

When approached for comment, the pension fund’s secretariat referred The Independent to the House of Commons media office. The media office provided a copy of the fund’s policy statement on ethical investing, which has been signed off by the board of trustees.

It says that “trustees [of the fund] are legally unable to exclude certain investments on ethical grounds” because “the rage of views” among its members means it would be “almost impossible for the trustees to conclude that scheme members would share a moral viewpoint on any one ethical issue”.

“This means that the trustees could not lawfully take a decision to exclude a certain type of investment from the PCPF’s investment portfolio on ethical grounds,” the policy statement continues.

“However, it is important to mention that the trustees do believe that environmental, social and corporate governance issues can have a material impact on the long-term performance of its investments.

“As such the fund is a signatory to the Financial Reporting Council’s Stewardship Code and as such expects its investment managers to take account of ESG considerations as part of their investment analysis and decision making process. Furthermore, the Trustees, and all of the Fund’s managers are also signatories to the FRC Stewardship Code.”

Bedford lost £14m last year due to smoking breaks

Figures released this week show smoking costs Bedford borough’s economy almost £34million a year.

But the biggest cost to the economy is not early deaths (£8.79million), smoking-related disease (£4.25million) or lost productivity because of sick days (£2.48million), says Action on Smoking and Health (ASH).

Instead the big cost is from people taking smoking breaks – reckoned to have cost Bedford firms nearly £14million last year because of lost productivity.

Councillor Louise Jackson, portfolio holder for public health, said: “Both councils and the NHS are experiencing severe funding pressures so these costs are not sustainable.

“Smoking remains the single largest cause of preventable death and illness in Bedford Borough, and the council provides free advice and support to help smokers to stop.

“People who use the stop smoking service are up to four times more likely to quit and last year we helped more than 700 people to successfully stop.

“For advice and support call 0800 013 0553.”

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH, said: “We know that most local authorities remain committed to reducing smoking but key services are under threat from public health funding cuts.”

http://www.bedfordtoday.co.uk/news/bedford-lost-14m-last-year-due-to-smoking-breaks-1-7801719