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cigarettes through the post – ‘brazen and sustained attack on the UK taxpayer’

Smuggling gang from Crook, Durham and Washington, posted cigarettes through the post – ‘brazen and sustained attack on the UK taxpayer’ says customs chiefs

http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/local/northdurham/durham/15558793.Illicit_cigarette_smuggling_gang_jailed/

THE ringleaders of a tobacco smuggling gang, who hid illicit cigarettes in lighting units and laptop adapters in an attempt to smuggle them into North-East through the post, have been jailed for a total of 76 months.

Guo Shan Zhang, 34, of Donnini Place, Durham, and his accomplice Shan Jing Su, 31, of The Riggs, Durham, led a nine strong gang in smuggling non-duty paid tobacco products from China, Singapore and Hong Kong.

The pair arranged for parcels containing the hidden cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco to be sent to addresses across the region where they would be collected from their accomplices.

The other members were convicted of conspiracy to evade excise duty:

Keith Peacock, 63, of Crawford Close, Durham, sentenced to 16 months, suspended for 24 months
Kwai Chan, 53, of Wood Vue, Durham, sentenced to 12 months, suspended for 24 months, and 200 hours unpaid work
Harry Marwick, 47, of Ripon Drive, Durham, sentenced to 10 months, suspended for 24 months, 200 hours unpaid work and 20 days rehabilitation
Min Gao, 34, of Boystones Court, Washington, sentenced to 6 months, suspended for 24 months, and 200 hours unpaid work
Trevor Walker, 59, of Elm Gardens, Durham, sentenced to 6 months, suspended for 18 months
Lewis Zalick, 22, of Derwent Avenue, Durham, sentenced to 14 weeks, suspended for 18 months, and 200 hours unpaid work
Joseph Dukes, 50, of Moorland Close, Sunnybrow, Crook, was jailed for 18 months for his involvement in the conspiracy and similar related offences.

All were sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) uncovered the fraud after about 500 parcels containing more than 1.8million cigarettes and 100kg of hand rolling tobacco worth an excise duty loss of £472,452 were stopped as they entered the UK.

Denis Kerr, assistant director of the Fraud Investigation Service at HMRC, said: “This was a brazen and sustained attack on the UK taxpayer by a highly organised criminal gang. Zhang and Su thought they had come up with a clever way to beat the system – they were very wrong.

“Disrupting criminal trade is at the heart of our strategy to clamp down on the illicit tobacco market, which costs the taxpayer around £2 billion a year.

“We will not allow hardworking, honest retailers to be harmed by criminal gangs selling illegal goods and we are determined to ensure there is a level playing field.”

The packages were often mis-described as green tea, children’s toys and clothes. In some instances large quantities of cigarettes and tobacco were hidden in LED lighting units, which had been sealed shut, and single packets were even hidden inside laptop adaptors.

At an earlier hearing Catherine Dillon Lee, 70, and her husband Robert Lee, 72, of Hall Lane Estate, in Willington, were sentenced to 12 months in prison suspended for two years after earlier pleading guilty to conspiracy to sell and distribute counterfeit cigarettes which posed a risk to public health.

Anti-smoking adverts by Cancer Research see charity in row over barmy Brussels rules that would BAN them

ADVERTS by Cancer Research urging Brits to quit smoking are at the centre of a row over barmy Brussels rules that would ban them, The Sun can reveal.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/4528776/penpushers-ban-adverts-by-cancer-research-uk/

The leading cancer charity want to launch an advertising blitz next month as part of the annual “Stoptober” to urge smokers to “quit or switch” to using e-cigarettes.

Under EU advertising law, anything that promotes nicotine is outlawed

But charity sources say they were warned by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) that they will be breaking EU rules by promoting vaping e-cigs — despite research showing it is 95 per cent safer than traditional smoking.

And today it emerged the Department of Health had stepped in to say public health campaigns should be exempt from the Brussels ruling.

The EU’s Committee on Advertising Practice introduced a ruling in February that outlaws “indirect” marketing promotions of nicotine — which includes e-cigs.

But in a 2016 report, the Royal College of Physicians claimed it was in the “interests” of public health “to promote the use of e-cigarettes, NRT (nicotine replacement therapy) and other non-tobacco nicotine products as widely as possible as a substitute for smoking in the UK.”

Cancer Research UK’s tobacco policy manager, George Butterworth, said: “Research so far shows e-cigarettes are far safer than smoking and may help smokers quit.

Research shows that e-cigarettes are much safer than regular cigarettes

“Smokers who’ve not succeeded in stopping using other methods may want to try swapping to e-cigarettes.

“Stopping smoking is the single best thing a smoker can do for their health.”

The ASA said yesterday: “Our rules prohibits ads for unlicensed, nicotine-containing e-cigarettes, in line with European law which took effect in 2016. Ads for products and brands are prohibited and have not been seen or heard on TV or radio since last year.

However they added that the Department for Health believe “the prohibition would not cover public health campaigns about the relative risks of e-cigarettes verses tobacco products by Public Health England or local stop smoking services.

Today it emerged the Department of Health had stepped in to say public health campaigns should be exempt from the Brussels ruling

But they warned: “Clearly, those ads must not promote a specific e-cigarette product or brand.”

A record amount of people succeeded in quitting smoking in the first six months of this year, data from University College London revealed this week.

But the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence have refused to endorse vaping.

Now health chiefs endorse vaping devices for smokers

Download (PDF, 138KB)

Report claims tobacco laws could change post Brexit

The Department of Health has issued a report that shows Brexit will allow some aspects of standardized tobacco packaging to be re-evaluated.

https://www.packagingnews.co.uk/news/markets/tobacco/cpma-brexit-offers-tobacco-pack-deregulation-21-07-2017

The government report, ‘Towards a Smokefree Generation – A Tobacco Control Plan for England’, includes a section titled ‘Leaving the European Union’ which states:

“Over the course of this Tobacco Control Plan, the government will review where the UK’s exit from the EU offers us opportunities to reappraise current regulation to ensure this continues to protect the nation’s health. We will look to identify where we can sensibly deregulate without harming public health or where EU regulations limit our ability to deal with tobacco.”

Mike Ridgway of the CPMA said that he acknowledges the objective of sensible and balanced regulation in tackling the issues surrounding smoking and health. However, he argues that that Brexit offers opportunities to re-appraise current regulation and identify where deregulation can take place.

He cites two examples from a packaging perspective would allow for the re-introduction of cigarette packs of tens and reducing the R-Y-O loose tobacco minimum limit of 30g where the restrictions have adversely affected packaging manufacturers.

“Both existing regulations currently encourage the purchasing of more product and the spending of more cash by the consumer on tobacco products in direct contradiction of the objectives of the tobacco control advocates to reduce consumption,” said Ridgway. “A further relaxation in pack shape design would allow an additional degree of packaging innovation which would add complexity to the packaging and reduce further opportunities for counterfeiting,” concludes Ridgway who has been opposing the “excessive regulation” of packaging on consumer products for many years.

Towards a Smokefree Generation – A Tobacco Control Plan for England

Download (PDF, 407KB)

Alex Calls Out Government on Another Tobacco Control Plan Delay

The Government are making no progress on creating and publishing the Tobacco Control Plan and every delay is putting more lives at risk, argued Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham today.

Last week Alex used the parliamentary tool of submitting a written question to the Secretary of State for Health regarding the long-awaited tobacco control plan, and today received a response from a Health Minister simply saying that the Government are “developing the Tobacco Control Plan which will be published shortly”.

The Member of Parliament for Stockton North argued that this is just another delay in a long succession regarding the plan, which was announced in December 2015 to be published the following year. Since 2016, a number of MPs have added their voices alongside Alex to continue probing the Government on when they will release the plan.

The Tobacco Control Plan, when eventually published, will set out what must be done to identify and develop new measures for reducing smoking and smoking harm.

Speaking on the matter, Alex said:

“I know that the previous Government wasn’t known for its efficiency, but a near 18-month delay on the publication of an extremely important plan is beyond inefficient now.

“There are a significant number of organisations, charities, health workers, and patients that are waiting for this plan. We can’t sit around and allow more people to die from cancer and other smoking-related diseases whilst the Government ponders around making dodgy DUP deals to stay in Downing Street, and key parts of our health strategy are being pushed to the sidelines.”

Is Vaping As Harmful As Smoking Cigarettes? Here’s What You Need To Know

Vaping seems to have taken the mantle of becoming the healthier alternative to smoking, along with the fact that they were designed with the motive to help smokers eventually quit.

http://www.indiatimes.com/health/healthyliving/is-vaping-as-harmful-as-smoking-cigarettes-here-s-what-you-need-to-know-324703.html

In fact, the trend has caught on so rampantly that it’s set to outsell traditional cigarettes by the end of 2023!

With the FDA regulating these products since 2016, it comes as no surprise that vaping is due to become the norm, surpassing traditional smoking in time to come.

In a report on the use of e-cigarettes in Canada, a report previously stated that “Among those whose primary reason for use is to help to quit tobacco, a similar proportion no longer smoke (24%), and this may be considered the success rate for this method of smoking cessation.”

How is vaping different from smoking?

To differentiate itself from tobacco products, vaping is the process of smoking nicotine without inhaling the other harmful substances in tobacco—out of which there 70 known carcinogens. Some products contain little to no nicotine in them. Canada for instance still does not approve of nicotine-containing e-cigarettes.

These battery-powered devices heat the liquid that contains nicotine and/or other flavours, which in turn is inhaled as the vapour.

There is no smoke without fire, however

Since the key objective of switching to e-cigarettes is to cut down the number of cigarettes you smoke, researchers have been assessing the ‘relative harm’ vaping can cause to your tissues.

A study conducted by Jessica Wang-Rodriguez, a head and neck cancer specialist at the University of California at San Diego and her team found that cells lining human organs sustained up to twice the DNA damage seen in unexposed cells. They were also five to 10 times more likely to wither and die than unexposed cells even if the vapour contained no nicotine, the addictive ingredient in conventional and most electronic cigarettes, as reported in New Scientist.

“Without the nicotine, the damage is slightly less, but still statistically significant compared with control cells,” says Wang-Rodriguez, who led the research.

The toxins from the flavouring are another cause of concern

“E-cigarette vapour is known to contain a range of toxins which include impurities in the e-cigarette liquids and toxins generated when solutions are heated to generate vapour,” says John Britton, a toxicologist at the University of Nottingham, UK. “Some are carcinogenic, so it’s likely some long-term users of e-cigarettes will experience adverse effects on their health, and the authors fo the study conducted by Rodriguez and company are correct to point out that these products should not be considered risk-free,” he says. But if smokers can’t give up completely, e-cigarettes are safer than smoking, he says, as reported in New Scientist.

They caused considerable damage to your key blood vessels; similar to normal cigarettes

A study conducted by researchers at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Rome states that vaping has an impact similar to the what normal cigarettes have on the stiffening of you heart’s aorta, as reported the Independent, UK.

The lead researcher, Professor Charalambos Viachopoulos of the University of Athens said, “We measured aortic stiffness. If the aorta is stiff you multiply your risk of dying, either from heart diseases or from other causes. “There could be long-term heart dangers. They are far more dangerous than people realise.”

The problem lies with the rising number of teens taking to smoking E-cigarettes

A 2014 high school survey conducted in the US found that 17 percent of 12th graders reported the use of e-cigarettes compared to 14 percent who smoked traditional cigarettes. The lower price points at which they are promoted, their perception of being safer than traditional cigarettes, the various flavours they come in and the fact they’re in trend make it a very attractive option for the youth.

Adolescents and young adults who try e-cigarettes are more than three times as likely to take up smoking traditional cigarettes as their peers who haven’t tried the devices, states a recent research review published in Reuters Health.

E-cigarette use, or vaping, was as least as strong a risk factor for smoking traditional cigarettes as having a parent or sibling who smokes or having a risk-taking and thrill-seeking personality, the researchers found.

“E-cigarette use among teens and young adults could increase the future burden of tobacco by creating a new generation of adult smokers who might have otherwise not begun smoking,” said lead study author Samir Soneji of the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice in New Hampshire.

“To the extent that e-cigarette use mimics the behaviour of smoking a cigarette—handling the e-cigarette, the action of puffing, and the inhalation of smoke—it sets the adolescent up for easily transitioning to smoking,” added Soneji. “Like transitioning from driving a Tesla to driving a Chevy.”

Dr Brian Primack, a researcher at the University of Pittsburgh stated that “Young people report that there is a lot of pressure among e-cigarette only users to smoke a ‘real’ cigarette,” Primack said by email. “It may be somewhat analogous to the fact that teens who use flavoured alcohol are often pressured socially to step up their game to harder forms of alcohol.”

Although e-cigarettes claim to be less harmful than conventional cigarettes it could make sense to pay heed to the lack of conclusive long-term evidence

Cigarette smokers are well aware of the perils of smoking normal cigarettes. The New England Journal of Medicine states that smoking tobacco reduces your life span by at least 10 years. But studies on smoking e-cigarettes remain largely inconclusive.

A review of studies published in the journal Tobacco Control reveals that the long-term effects of the vaporised form are not known yet. For instance, it is not known if the chemical propylene glycol, which is mixed with the other chemicals in e-cigarettes known to irritate the respiratory tract, could result in lung problems after decades of vaping, says Dr Michael Siegel, a tobacco researcher and professor of community health sciences at the Boston University School of Public Health in Live Science.

Besides, “because e-cigarettes have been on the market for only about 10 years, there have been no long-term studies of people who have used them for 30 to 40 years. Therefore, the full extent of e-cigs’ effects on heart and lung health, as well as their cancer-causing potential, over time is not known,” says Stanton Glantz a professor of medicine and the director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco to Live Science.

 

Vaping teens more likely to take up regular cigarettes

Adolescents and young adults who try e-cigarettes are more than three times as likely to take up smoking traditional cigarettes as their peers who haven’t tried the devices, a research review suggests.

https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-health-teens-vaping-idUKKBN19H292

E-cigarette use, or vaping, was as least as strong a risk factor for smoking traditional cigarettes as having a parent or sibling who smokes or having a risk-taking and thrill-seeking personality, researchers found.

“E-cigarette use among teens and young adults could increase the future burden of tobacco by creating a new generation of adult smokers who might have otherwise not begun smoking,” said lead study author Samir Soneji of the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice in New Hampshire.

Big tobacco companies, including Altria Group Inc, Lorillard Tobacco Co and Reynolds American Inc, are all developing e-cigarettes. The battery-powered devices feature a glowing tip and a heating element that turns liquid nicotine and other flavorings into a cloud of vapor that users inhale.

Soneji and colleagues analyzed data from nine smaller studies with a total of 17,389 participants ages 14 to 30.

They didn’t examine why many teens and young adults transitioned from vaping to smoking traditional cigarettes, but both options contain nicotine, an addictive drug, Soneji said by email.

The habit of vaping may also make the transition to smoking seem more natural, and teens in particular may gravitate toward friends who smoke once they try vaping, Soneji said.

“To the extent that e-cigarette use mimics the behavior of smoking a cigarette – handling the e-cigarette, the action of puffing, and the inhalation of smoke – it sets the adolescent up for easily transitioning to smoking,” Soneji said. “Like transitioning from driving a Tesla to driving a Chevy.”

Seven studies looked at smoking initiation among more than 8,000 youngsters who had never smoked before. Data pooled from these studies showed that roughly 30 percent of e-cigarette users became smokers, compared with only about 8 percent of people who hadn’t tried vaping. That translates into 3.6 times higher odds of smoking for people who have tried e-cigarettes, researchers report in JAMA Pediatrics.

One limitation of the study is that it included some results from earlier studies with a high drop-out rate, and it’s not clear whether people who left these studies were different from participants who remained in ways that would make them more or less likely to smoke, the authors note. Researchers also lacked data on the type of e-cigarettes used, and they only looked at U.S. studies.

Even so, by pooling data from several smaller studies, the results offer stronger evidence that vaping can encourage young people to progress to smoking, said William Shadel, a researcher at RAND Corporation in Pittsburgh who wasn’t involved in the current study.

“The results are particularly compelling because the studies took into account other variables that put kids at risk of cigarette smoking, like alcohol use and peer cigarette smoking,” Shadel said by email. “These results should help to strengthen arguments for regulatory action that limits young people’s access to e-cigarettes.”

Enticing flavors of liquid nicotine used in e-cigarettes, like strawberry or chocolate, may make vaping appealing to some young people who might not like the taste of traditional cigarettes, said Dr. Brian Primack, a researcher at the University of Pittsburgh who wasn’t involved in the study. Peer pressure may then encourage them to graduate to smoking.

“Young people report that there is a lot of pressure among e-cigarette only users to smoke a ‘real’ cigarette,” Primack said by email. “It may be somewhat analogous to the fact that teens who use flavored alcohol are often pressured socially to step up their game to harder forms of alcohol.”

There’s one clear way for young people to avoid this.

“The biggest thing that people can do is never start using them in the first place,” Primack said.

More than 100 pets were poisoned by e-cigarettes in Britain last year

Vaping might be a lot better for pet owners than smoking cigarettes – but the gadgets pose a risk to pets, a new report found.

http://metro.co.uk/2017/06/26/more-than-100-pets-were-poisoned-by-e-cigarettes-in-britain-last-year-6734735/

Vets say that a ‘large increase’ in the number of pets being poisoned by e-cigarettes, according to figures from the Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS).

Last year, 113 pets were poisoned by e-cigarettes in the UK.

The VPIS says, ‘A typical ‘natural’ cigarette could yield, at most, 30mg of nicotine (most have less).

‘E-cigarettes and their refills contain large doses of nicotine (up to 36mg per ml). How well absorbed or how ‘available’ this is for oral or mucosal absorption is not known, but it is reasonable to take any exposure seriously.

‘Ingestion of refill bottles/vials may present a particular hazard as the nicotine may leak over a period of time or may suddenly be released after a variable period in the gut.’

 

New Health Minister is under fire for voting against major smoking reforms

Tory Jackie Doyle-Price was accused of not even backing ‘basic public health measures’

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/3878316/new-health-minister-is-under-fire-for-voting-against-major-smoking-reforms/

A NEW Health Minister was under fire last night for voting against major smoking reforms, it has emerged.

Tory Jackie Doyle-Price was last night accused of not even backing “basic public health measures” since was she was elected in 2010.

Her voting record shows she voted against a ban on smoking in private motors where there are kids present.

She also voted against a new law that requires private vehicles be smoke-free where a person under 18 is present.

Doyle-Price, who has been an MP since 2010, also voted to exempt pubs and private members’ clubs from the smoking ban where no grub is served.

Sharon Hodgson, Labour’s Shadow Public Health Minister, said: “Public health ought to be a number one priority for this government, particularly action to tackle smoking related illnesses.

“Jeremy Hunt needs to explain why he’s appointed a new health minister who doesn’t even support basic public health measures.”

Labour also urged the government to publish their Tobacco Control Plan which they claim is months late.

Deborah Arnott Chief Executive of Action on Smoking and Health last night said: “Before the election the Government had committed to publishing a new Tobacco Control Plan ‘shortly’.

“The best way for Jeremy Hunt to prove his continuing commitment to public health and tackling tobacco is to publish the Plan without further delay.”

Figures show smoking is the leading cause of preventable premature death killing 79,000 people in 2015