Clear The Air News Tobacco Blog Rotating Header Image

Smoking Ban

Auckland smoking ban at footpath dining areas deemed ‘unfair targeting’

Download (PDF, 175KB)

Open Response to Letter of 14 September 2017 calling on PMI to stop selling cigarettes

Download (PDF, 95KB)

The changing nicotine products landscape: time to outlaw sales of combustible tobacco products?

Abstract

Combustible tobacco products are unique both for the extraordinary harm they cause, and the fact that more than 50 years after these harms became known, they continue to be widely and legally available globally. However, the rapid evolution of the nicotine product marketplace in recent years warrants a re-assessment of the viability of phasing out commercial sales of combustible tobacco, and presents an opportunity to end the exceptionalism of combustible tobacco being permitted for sale.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2017-053969

PRISON RIGHTS: SCOTLAND IS ABOUT TO BAN INMATES FROM SMOKING

Scotland is set to ban smoking in its prisons as part of a government drive to slash tobacco use—but an expert has warned it could mean a boom in smuggling, and a greater risk of violence.

http://www.newsweek.com/smoking-scotland-prison-ban-637586

Staff, visitors and contractors are already not allowed to smoke anywhere on Scottish Prison Service (SPS) property. But a 2015 survey found that 72 percent of prisoners smoked, more than three times the proportion of the general population who did so, the BBC reported.

The Scottish government aims at creating a “tobacco-free generation” by 2034. Smoking in enclosed public spaces has been barred since 2006, but prisons have remained an exception.

It aims to end smoking in its prisons by the end of 2018, citing the need to tackle the dangers of secondhand smoke.

Phil Fairlie, chairman of the Prison Officers’ Association Scotland, welcomes the news. “Our members have claimed and argued all along, since the smoking ban was introduced, that they are constantly exposed to very high levels of smoking inside prisons,” he told the BBC.

But stopping smoking in prisons is not without risks and problems.

Alex Cavendish, a former prisoner turned prison expert, tells Newsweek that the demand for contraband tobacco in smoke-free prisoners could lead to a vast black market.

In one prison in Dartmoor, England, which has tested a smoke-free environment, a pack of rolling tobacco could cost as much as £100, Cavendish said. The “huge price differential” between such rates inside the jail compared to shops outside where tobacco was relatively cheap and legal leads to “a temptation to corruption.” A prison officer from the Dartmoor jail was convicted of smuggling tobacco in May this year.

Such markets create new administrative pressures on staff as they become embroiled in a “cat-and-mouse game of trying to stop people doing what is lawful to do on the outside,” Cavendish said.

Black markets also can breed violence when prisoners are punished for not keeping up with debts. Cavendish added: “Prison is a very unforgiving place when it comes to nonpayment of debt.”

Colin McConnell, chief executive of the SPS, said: “This will be a significant challenge. The percentage of people who smoke in prisons is much higher than the community at large,” STV reported.

“I fully understand how difficult it will be for many in our care to give up smoking—that is why we are committed to working alongside our partners in the NHS to provide every support possible to assist them.”

Scottish Health Secretary Shona Robison said, “Smoking remains the biggest single cause of preventable ill-health and premature death in Scotland.

“We have taken wide-ranging action to address this, from our campaigns to take smoking right outside, to measures on tobacco advertising and packaging.

“I endorse this important step by SPS, which will contribute towards our ambition of creating a tobacco-free generation by 2034.”

Furore over tobacco harm-reduction efforts

Most countries all over the world have banned smoking in public places and the popular advice is, “smoking is dangerous to your health… smokers are liable to die young.”

https://guardian.ng/features/furore-over-tobacco-harm-reduction-efforts/

Researches indicate that most deaths due to smoking result from respiratory diseases such as lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pneumonia.

In Nigeria, most cities including Lagos have outlawed smoking backed with legislation but poor enforcement has been the pitfall. People still smoke in public places in all the nook and crannies in the country exposing the non-smoker and tender ones to secondhand smoke, which has also been associated with cancer of the lung and other ill-health effects.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats, killing more than seven million people a year. There are currently one billion smokers worldwide, with nearly 80 per cent of them living in low and middle-income countries, where the burden of tobacco-related illness is greatest.

Indeed, several studies have shown that smoking tobacco is the most harmful way of using nicotine, with the tars and gasses in cigarette smoke being harmful to health, however, many people find it difficult to stop smoking because they find it hard to go without nicotine.

A school of thought suggests that making lower risk products available may help people switch from smoking, ultimately helping avoid the risk of smoking known as “tobacco harm reduction”.

Tobacco harm reduction is a pragmatic approach to reducing the harm of smoking related diseases. People smoke because they are addicted to nicotine and seek a “hit”, but it is the other toxins in tobacco smoke that cause most of the harm. Nicotine can be obtained from a range of products, which vary in their level of harm and addictiveness, from smoked tobacco (that is cigarettes) at the top end of the harm/addiction spectrum, to medicinal nicotine (that is nicotine replacement therapy products) at the bottom end.

A harm reduction approach to tobacco control encourages those smokers that cannot, or are unwilling to, stop smoking, to switch to using nicotine in a less harmful form, and ideally would result in them ultimately quitting nicotine use altogether.

Potential harm reduction products include: Smokeless Tobacco (Snus); E-cigarettes; and Nicotine Replacement Therapy (under construction). The use of safer nicotine products is a rapidly evolving area, with many new non-combustible products emerging. The rapid development and use of these products raises a number of challenging scientific questions about their safety, who uses them and why, and the impact on smoking. These products also raise challenges for governments who seek to understand what kind of policy and regulation is appropriate.

To address these issues, the Global Forum on Nicotine (GFN) 2017 was held last month in Warsaw, Poland.

Reflecting commitment to the development and promotion of evidence-based policies and interventions, the theme of this year’s meeting was “Reducing Harm, Saving Lives”, drawing attention to the potential of safer nicotine products, such as e-cigarettes, oral tobaccos and “heat-not-burn” tobacco products, to reduce the global health burden of smoking.

Participants comprised of policy analysts, regulators and standards experts, academics and researchers, parliamentarians, public health professionals, consumer advocates, and makers and distributors of alternative nicotine products – all with an interest in nicotine and its uses.

This year’s programme examined the rapidly developing science in relation to nicotine use and the changing landscape, including policy responses and the influence of different stakeholders in this. The programme comprised plenary sessions, symposia, panel discussions and poster presentations – including video posters.

Several studies have shown that tobacco harm reduction has been controversial and divisive in public health, in particular where the debate has focused on a possible role for other tobacco products such as Snus, within a tobacco harm reduction strategy. One of the reasons harm reduction is a sensitive topic is that it could involve engaging with the tobacco industry, which has a history of manipulating public debate and public health policy.

Critics posit that to fully understand the harmfulness of potentially reduced risk products and their effectiveness for smoking cessation, tobacco industry investments and research into harm reduction and potentially reduced risk products should be carefully scrutinised. Who has paid for the research, which scientists, organisations and institutions are involved?

In fact, a number of scientists leading the debate on harm reduction and/or potentially reduced risk products are allegedly funded by the tobacco industry. Examples include: Jed E. Rose is director of the Center for Nicotine and Smoking Cessation Research (CNSCR) at Duke University in the United States (US), an institution with a long history of tobacco money. He is the inventor of the nicotine patch, and a nicotine aerosol technology. The Center, his research and his career are closely interlinked with the tobacco industry, more specifically Philip Morris.

The story on Duke University, US, and the Tobacco Industry shows Philip Morris actively promoting the nicotine patch as a quitting strategy, with the research funded by the company and with the endorsement of scientists involved.

A 2012 editorial in the public health journal Addiction suggested we should not be fooled by industry investments in potentially reduced risk products like snus, highlighting that Philip Morris US is currently advertising its Marlboro snus “for when you can’t smoke”, thus encouraging dual use instead of smoking cessation.

Further evidence from the US, where smokeless tobacco is freely available, confirms that smokeless tobacco is being marketed as a tobacco alternative in smoke-free environments. This would suggest that contrary to the industry’s discourse on harm reduction, and the favoured approach by public health experts advocating tobacco harm reduction, the industry appears to have little intention of promoting Snus use as a permanent switch from smoking.

However, the GFN is changing that perception. Chair of GFN, Prof. Dave Sweanor from Canada, told participants at 2017 GFN: “GFN is the only international conference to focus on the role of safer nicotine products that help people switch from smoking. Safer nicotine products include e-cigarettes, oral tobaccos such as Swedish snus, and ‘heat-not-burn’ tobacco products. This is a rapidly evolving area with many new non-combustible products emerging.

“The first conference was held in 2014 and this year we see the fourth annual renewal. All the conferences to date have been in Warsaw. The conference is funded by registration fees and does not receive any sponsorship from manufacturers, distributors or retailers of nicotine products, including pharmaceutical, electronic cigarette and tobacco companies.”

Sweanor said the programme is developed by an international programme committee and is supported by a Polish Host Committee. Knowledge-Action-Change (KAC) provides the administration for the conference. New data released at the GFN showed low risk nicotine product snus is 95 per cent safer than smoking and has the potential to stop 320,000 premature deaths across Europe each year.

The latest evidence, presented by Peter Lee, epidemiologist and medical statistician, indicates that snus is at least 95 per cent safer than smoking.

Analysis by Lars Ramström, snus researcher in Sweden, shows that if snus were made available in Europe –where it is currently banned with the exception of Sweden –and similar use levels to Sweden were adopted, up to
320,000 premature deaths could be avoided among men every year.

While 46 per cent of deaths due to smoking result from respiratory diseases such as lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pneumonia, there is no evidence that using snus increases risk of these diseases. Nor does snus appear to increase the risk of other smoking related diseases including heart disease, stroke and a range of cancers.

In addition, the public health benefits of snus versus cigarettes are not only much lower, but the role of snus in both reducing initiation of smoking and increasing cessation of smoking is a key element in defeating the actual cause of tobacco-related ill-health caused by the cigarette.

Current European legislation does not allow snus to be marketed in any European country except Sweden. However, due to strong evidence behind its potentially life saving benefits, The New Nicotine Alliance (NNA), a United Kingdom (UK) consumer group supporting access to safer nicotine products, is calling for its legalization and has joined legal action case against the banning of snus, which has now been referred to the European Courts of Justice.

Gerry Stimson, Chair of the NNA stated, “Snus is a tobacco product that has consistently been proven to be less harmful to health than cigarettes. The ban on snus limits smokers choices of safer alternatives and has a significant negative impact on public health”.

Phillips Morris International (PMI) in its presentation at the Forum noted: “Harm reduction policies are based on the view acknowledged by virtually all public health organizations that tobacco use will continue well into the future. As the United Nation (UN) stated in 2004, even assuming current rates of decline in consumption, ‘the number of tobacco users would still be expected to increase to 1.46 billion by 2025.’

“The recognition that people will continue to smoke has led many public health authorities to the conclusion that developing tobacco products that have a reduced risk of causing disease is a crucial element of tobacco policy. This is contrasted with those groups who take an abstinence-based approach that focuses solely on preventing people from beginning to use tobacco products and encouraging people to quit using tobacco products.

“Following a harm reduction policy does not preclude governments from pursuing the objectives of prevention of initiation and encouraging cessation. On the contrary, most proponents of harm reduction are vigorous supporters of those important goals. As we see it, tobacco harm reduction should complement prevention and cessation efforts — not compete with them.

“Our support of harm reduction follows two paths: one is through our research and development of products with the potential to reduce the risk of tobacco related diseases. The other path is through our support of regulation based on the principle of harm reduction.”

Yikhum village bans sale/use of tobacco

After successfully enforcing the ban on use and sale of tobacco products and alcohol within the for about 5 years, Yikhum Village under Wokha district has been recognized and formally declared as ‘Tobacco Free Village’ by the District Tobacco Control Cell (DTCC) under the National Tobacco Control Programme on May 31 on the occasion of World No Tobacco Day at Wokha Town. This was informed through a press note by Yikhum Village Council chairman, Robin Kithan.

http://www.nagalandpost.com/ChannelNews/State/StateNews.aspx?news=TkVXUzEwMDExNTU0OQ%3D%3D

“Seriously considering the fatal menace of the use of hazardous elements, the Village council with the mandate of the general public imposed a total ban henceforth,” the note stated. Therefore, anyone found selling/using openly the banned substances including alcohol within the village shall be fined Rs. 1000 (seller) and Rs. 200 (user), along with “stringent punitive” actions.

Health ministry caves to LDP, shelves restaurant smoking ban vow

The health ministry on Friday decided not to include a pledge to ban smoking in restaurants in its long-term policy on cancer control, yielding to pressure from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party to leave the lax regulations intact.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/06/02/national/science-health/health-ministry-drops-effort-ban-smoking-restaurants-amid-efforts-curb-cancer/#.WTO7rWiGOHs

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry will still aim to eliminate smoking in government offices and medical institutions, officials said, as it seeks to implement tighter measures to counter passive smoking before Tokyo hosts the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.

In line with the goals of the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the ministry will reduce the proportion of the population exposed to the risk of passive smoking to 15 percent or lower by fiscal 2022.

The ministry presented its final plan on smoking measures to a panel on Friday, with the six-year plan scheduled to start this fiscal year expected to be formally approved by the Cabinet next month.

The ministry had earlier sought to ban smoking in restaurants by 2020, exempting only small bars under the new six-year plan. But the LDP, backed by the tobacco and restaurant industries, has proposed that smoking be allowed as long as smoking and nonsmoking areas are clearly separated.

The six-year plan also aims to boost the cancer screening ratio to 50 percent and raise the ratio of suspected cancer patients who take detailed follow-up exams to 90 percent.

The ministry is also seeking revisions to the 2003 Health Promotion Law to ban smoking in public places in time for the Olympics. Currently, the law says operators must “make efforts” to curb passive smoking.

But it has not been able to introduce the revision bill to the Diet due to fierce opposition from the LDP’s pro-tobacco members. With less than a month left until the Diet closes, it is becoming increasingly difficult for Japan to ban indoor smoking before 2020.

The ministry estimates that about 15,000 people die annually in Japan from passive smoking, which is known to cause heart disease, stroke and lung cancer. With no law to ban public smoking, Japan was among the countries in the lowest-graded group out of four in the World Health Organization’s 2015 report on the global tobacco epidemic.

After the WHO and the International Olympic Committee agreed in 2010 to promote tobacco-free Olympic Games, all countries hosting the Olympics have implemented anti-tobacco regulations that include punishment, according to the ministry.

Smoking ban takes effect

The Czech Republic marked World No Tobacco Day on 31 May by implementing a ban on smoking in public places including bars, restaurants and sports stadiums, the Associated Press said.

http://www.tobaccojournal.com/Smoking_ban_takes_effect.54268.0.html

The ban, which also applies to cafes, cinemas and threaters, faces a court challenged filed by a group of lawmakers, the AP said. Seventeen of 28 European Union member states reportedly have implemented comprehensive smoking bans and it appears only one, Slovakia, still allows smoking in bars, according to EU data cited in the report.

Study: China Struggles to Kick World-Leading Cigarette Habit

Most smokers in China, the world’s largest tobacco consumer, have no intention of kicking the habit and remain unaware of some of its most damaging health effects, Chinese health officials and outside researchers said Wednesday.

http://www.voanews.com/a/china-smoking/3879050.html

An estimated 316 million people smoke in China, almost a quarter of the population, and concerns are growing about the long-term effects on public health and the economy.

The vast majority of smokers are men, of whom 59 percent told surveyors that they have no plans to quit, according to a decade-long study by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Canadian researchers with the International Tobacco Control project.

Such numbers have prompted efforts to restrict the formerly ubiquitous practice. Major cities including Beijing and Shanghai having recently moved to ban public smoking, with Shanghai’s prohibition going into effect in March. In 2015, the central government approved a modest nationwide cigarette tax increase.

But Chinese and international health officials argue that more is needed, including a nationwide public smoking ban, higher cigarette taxes and more aggressive health warnings. Such actions are “critically important,” Yuan Jiang, director of tobacco control for the Chinese Center for Disease Control, said in a statement released with Wednesday’s study.

A public smoking ban appeared imminent last year. The government health ministry said in December that it would happen by the end of 2016, but that has yet to materialize.

“They have to figure out what’s important as a health policy,” said Geoffrey Fong of Canada’s University of Waterloo, one of the authors of Wednesday’s study. “Every third man that you pass on the street in China will die of cigarettes. …When you have cheap cigarettes, people will smoke them.”

In line with global trends, smoking rates among Chinese have fallen slowly over the past 25 years, by about 1 percent annually among men and 2.6 percent among women, according to a separate study published in April in the medical journal The Lancet.

Yet because of China’s population growth — 1.37 billion people at last count — the actual number of smokers has continued to increase. Rising prosperity means cigarettes have become more affordable, while low taxes keep the cost of some brands at less than $1 a pack.

Sixty percent of Chinese smokers were unaware that cigarettes can lead to strokes and almost 40 percent weren’t aware that smoking causes heart disease, according to the study, which was released on World No Tobacco Day, when the World Health Organization and others highlight health risks associated with tobacco use.

Judith Mackay, an anti-tobacco advocate based in Hong Kong, said China has made strides with the public smoking bans in some cities and a similar ban covering schools and universities, but that’s not enough.

“This is the first time there has been a report looking at the overall picture of where China stands,” said Mackay, senior adviser at Vital Strategies, a global health organization. “The reality is, it’s falling behind.”

Mackay blamed behind the scenes lobbying by China’s state-owned tobacco monopoly for impeding efforts to toughen tobacco policies. The State Tobacco Monopoly Administration did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Government agencies and research institutes in China, Canada and the United States funded the study.

Russian showpieces to be tobacco-free events

This year’s FIFA Confederations Cup and next year’s FIFA World Cup™ will be tobacco-free events. FIFA and the Local Organising Committee (LOC) confirmed this on Wednesday 31 May, as World No Tobacco Day is celebrated across the world in conjunction with the World Health Organisation (WHO).

http://www.fifa.com/confederationscup/news/y=2017/m=5/news=russian-showpieces-to-be-tobacco-free-events-2890503.html

This decision is based on FIFA´s long-standing commitment to counter the use of tobacco and its negative impacts, which started in 1986 when FIFA announced it would no longer accept advertising from the tobacco industry.

“FIFA has banned smoking at FIFA World Cups since 2002 in order to respect and protect people’s Human Rights as a part of FIFA´s social responsibility commitment,” said Federico Addiechi, FIFA’s Head of Sustainability & Diversity. “FIFA´s Tobacco-Free Policy for FIFA Tournaments ensures that those who choose to, may only use tobacco products in designated areas, if in existence, to ensure that it does not harm others. The policy protects the right of the majority of the population, who are non-smokers, to breathe clean air that is not contaminated by carcinogens and other harmful substances in tobacco smoke and e-cigarettes.”

“All our actions in preparing for the tournament are taken in strict compliance with the Sustainability Strategy,” said Milana Verkhunova, Director of Sustainable Development at the Russia 2018 LOC. “One of the objectives in this area is to create a tobacco-free environment at all World Cup stadiums and FIFA Fan Fests.

“Creating a tobacco-free environment at all World Cup stadiums and FIFA Fan Fests is a very important objective of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Sustainability Strategy”, said Milana Verkhunova, Director of Sustainability Department at the Russia 2018 LOC. “In order to fulfill this task, we actively interact with the World Health Organization, the Ministry of Health, the expert community, host cities, stadium operators, the World Cup ambassadors and fans, as well as with the Russian Football Union. We hope that by joint efforts we will be able to contribute to the reduction of tobacco consumption in Russia.”

Here, FIFA.com highlights the key dates in FIFA’s work towards smoke-free sporting events.

1986: FIFA announces it will no longer accept advertising from tobacco-industry sponsors.
1999: At the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ in the USA, FIFA supports an anti-smoking campaign launched by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
2002: FIFA supports a smoke-free campaign launched by WHO and the HHS. World football’s governing body is consequently bestowed with the WHO Director General’s Award for an anti-smoking campaign.
2002: Korea/Japan becomes the first smoke-free FIFA World Cup, meaning it has no links whatsoever to tobacco. Every FIFA World Cup since has followed suit.
2010: FIFA, the LOC and other stakeholders develop and adopt the ‘Stadium Code of Conduct’, which describes the applicable measures and policies for stadium visitors and staff, including prohibition of smoking in the stands and around the pitch.
2011: FIFA provides input to the European Healthy Stadia Network for policy position and enforcement guidelines for UEFA, concerning a smoke-free UEFA EURO 2012.
2013/2014: The FIFA Confederations Cup and World Cup in Brazil take place as tobacco-free events.
2015: World No Tobacco Day celebrated as ‘World Smoke Free Day’ at the FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015
2017/2018: The FIFA Confederations Cup and the FIFA World Cup in Russia will both be tobacco-free events.