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February 2nd, 2013:


Tobacco News

Scotland tobacco display ban to come into force in April for larger stores

New guidance from the Scottish government has confirmed that larger stores selling cigarettes and other products will have to comply with the tobacco display ban by 29th April 2013.
Source: Talking Retail – 28 January 2013

Wales: No need to lift smoking ban for actors say campaigners

Anti-smoking campaigners have argued that there is no need to lift a ban for TV actors on set after the BBC apologised for misleading evidence to an Assembly inquiry.

Elen de Lacy, chief executive of ASH Wales said: “The BBC’s admission that it was able to film smoking scenes for Casualty, despite the smoking ban, underlines our case that there is no need to change the law in Wales.

“The smoking ban protects public health in Wales and we must hold firm against any attempts to dilute it.”

Source: Daily Post – 25 January 2013

How cigarette smuggling fuels Africa’s Islamist violence

Contrabrand tobacco is a $1bn trade in north Africa, run by extremists including Mokhtar Belmokhtar, who masterminded the attack on the Algerian gas plant. The trade is highly profitable – and very low risk.

“Tobacco smuggling is lucrative and widespread,” said Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH. “It helps to fund global terrorism and conflict, encourages corruption and remains a source of funds for some of the most repressive regimes in the world.”

Source: The Observer – 27 January 2013

Prison tobacco ban dropped for fear of causing a riot

A trial project to ban smoking in a number of jails has been postponed amid fears that it would provoke disturbances.

Plans to introduce a smoking ban in all prisons have been postponed due to a review of prisoners privileges which could see the removal of TV sets in cells. According to the Times, officials think that the addition of a smoking ban to this may compound resentment and lead to unrest.

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Source: The Times – 19 January 2013

Opinion: Tobacco companies spend billions on packaging for a reason

Dr Ross Morgan, a Consultant Respiratory Physician and Chairman of ASH Ireland, writes in response to a column published in, in which the author dismissed the assertion that female smokers buy tobacco products based on attractive packaging. Smokers may be addicted, Dr Morgan writes, but an industry that spends billions on design and packaging does so for one reason alone: because it works.
Source: The Journal – 28 January 2013

Video: Councils invest in tobacco while helping smokers quit

The BBC takes the example of the West Midlands region to investigate how councils invest in cigarette firms.

The report includes interviews with Prof Rod Griffiths, a former West Midlands director of public health, and Cllr Adrian Hardman who leads Worcestershire County Council.

Source: BBC News – 18 January 2013

Do penalties for smokers and the obese make sense?

Faced with the high cost of caring for smokers and overeaters, experts say US society must grapple with a blunt question: Instead of trying to penalize them and change their ways, why not just let these health sinners die prematurely from their unhealthy habits?
Source: The Observer – 27 January 2013

Nicotine replacement therapy’s positive impact on smokers is more than puff

Jenny Bryan explains why, although nicotine replacement therapy is commonly prescribed and used nowadays, its journey to this point was anything but smooth.
Source: PJ Online – 22 January 2013

USA: Rep. Dick Armey’s Tobacco Ties

A three-part blog by Anne Landman on former US House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R) and his relationship with Big Tobacco throughout his career. Part 1 (link below) focuses on the early years of his career.

Part 2: Dick Armey’s Long History of Working With Industry-Backed Groups

Part 3: FreedomWorks Continues Dick Armey’s Defense of Big Tobacco

Source: Desmogblog – 23 January 2013
Parliamentary News

Parliamentary question: ASH funding

Ian Paisley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health,

(1) what funding his Department has allocated to the charity, Action on Smoking and Health in each of the last three years;

(2) whether his Department has made an assessment of the effectiveness of its funding provided to the charity, Action on Smoking and Health and of the way in which that funding has been used;

(3) on how many occasions ministers and officials in his Department have met the charity, Action on Smoking and Health in the last 12 months.

Anna Soubry: Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) received funding of £220,000 in 2010-11 through the Department’s “Section 64 General Scheme of Grants to Voluntary and Community Organisations” (the Section 64 Scheme). ASH received this grant specifically to carry out a defined project titled “Capitalising on Smokefree: the way forward”.

ASH has subsequently received funding of £150,000 in 2011-12 and £150,000 in 2012-13, also through the Department’s Section 64 Scheme. The grants were awarded for work to support delivery of Healthy lives, healthy people: a tobacco control plan for England.

All third sector organisations in receipt of a grant from the Department are expected to provide quarterly and end-of-project reports, a summary of total spending on the project, and yearly accounts. Senior officials have met ASH 12 times in the last year to ensure good governance of the Section 64 grant and effective delivery of their work on implementation of the Tobacco Control Plan for England. The Department is satisfied that the grants to ASH have been used appropriately and that ASH has delivered the Department’s objectives for the funding.

Details of ministerial meetings with external stakeholders are published quarterly in arrears on the Department’s website here.

The Department does not keep a central diary of the engagements that every departmental official has had with ASH representatives. In discharging their official duties, Ministers, special advisors and departmental officials meet with representatives from such organisations in a wide range of fora, including speaking engagements, conferences and seminars.

Source: Hansard – 29 January 2013
Industry Watch

Imperial Tobacco blames profit slow down on black market

Imperial Tobacco said it will see slower profit growth in the first half of its financial year as key European and Russian markets continue to struggle against black market competition.

Sales performance in Europe was hit by a broader market decline that Imperial said was linked to the rise in illicit tobacco trade and a tough economic environment.

Net tobacco revenue rose 2 percent over the three months ending in December.

The manufacturer also announced that its long-standing Finance Director Bob Dyrbus is to retire from the board. He has been working for the company for 25 years as a senior executive and has held his position as the head of finance since 1996.

Source: International Business Times – 30 January 2013

Ex-White House physician joins BAT board

British American Tobacco has appointed one of the longest serving White House physicians (14 years), Brigadier General (retired) Dr Richard Tubb, as a non-executive director.

BAT Chairman Richard Burrows said: “I am delighted to be welcoming such a prominent and well respected expert in the field of tobacco harm reduction to our board. This appointment further demonstrates our commitment to putting science at the heart of our business.”

Source: This is Money – 29 January 2013

Imperial Tobacco faces investor revolt over bonus revamp

Imperial Tobacco is facing a shareholder revolt over proposed resolutions that would cede increased power to the board and mean that they would not have to consult investors on some of the decisions.

Three shareholder groups have expressed their “extreme disappointment” in the company’s inability to adequately consult on the policies.

The new developments come less than a year after the “Shareholder Spring” which saw investors vote down several new proposals and claimed some top jobs at the company.

Source: The Wall Street Journal – 20 January 2013

USA: Sales of e-cigarettes continue to soar

Electronic cigarette makers have become increasingly aggressive in their advertising in the US, with one company even proclaiming that “Big Tobacco” has met its match. But the burgeoning industry is worried that an onslaught of taxes and regulations could snuff out its recent success.

The new assertiveness comes as tobacco analysts have started to acknowledge that growing demand for “e-cigs” in the US is slowly taking customers from tobacco giants such as Altria, Lorillard and RJ Reynolds.

Source: Financial Times – 21 January 2013

Europe caves in to Big Tobacco

Journalist David Cronin examines ther relationship between the European Commission and the tobacco industry and argues that it has capitulated to cigarette firms.

See also:
– EU commission accused of failing to regulate relations with tobacco industry, The Parliament

Source: New Europe – 13 January 2013

ITC Q3 profit up 21 percent as cigarette volumes improve

India’s biggest cigarette maker, ITC Ltd, beat estimates with a 21 percent rise in quarterly profit as cigarette volumes increased after four quarters of stagnant growth, aided by the launch of low-cost products during the quarter.
Source: Reuters – 18 January 2013
Recent Research

Childhood asthma ‘admissions down’ after smoking ban, prompts call for standardised packaging

New research by Imperial College has revealed that there was a 12% drop in the number of children admitted to hospital with severe asthma in the first year after the smoking ban in England.

Prior to the ban the number of admissions had been rising by more than 2% a year.

The fall was seen among boys and girls of all ages and across all demographic groups in both cities and rural areas.

At the time of the introduction of the ban many critics said smokers would respond by lighting up more at home – harming the health of their families. But the authors of this study say there is growing evidence that more people are insisting on smoke-free homes.

Asthma UK said the findings are “encouraging” and renewed its call for the introduction of plain standardised packaging for tobacco products.

Source: BBC News – 21 January 2013

USA: Two major new studies on smoking and mortality

Two new US studies examining smoking and mortality have been published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The findings from one of the studies indicated that the relative risk from dying of a smoking related death has grown substantially for women and is now at a level almost identical to that of men. For men, their risk of dying has plateaued and is sustained at the high levels previously witnessed in the 1980’s.

The second study, utilising data from the US National Interview Survey between 1997 and 2004, revealed that people who smoke take at least a decade off their overall life expectancy.

However, the research also found that stopping before the age of 40 eliminated 90% of the overall risk of a smoking associated death.

The conclusions from these American studies are almost identical to that of similar research conducted last year by researchers from Oxford.

Commenting on the finding in women to the BBC, lead researcher of the Oxford Study, Prof Sir Richard Peto, said: “If women smoke like men, they die like men.”

Source: USA Today – 23 January 2013

‘Less harmful, low-tar’ cigarettes in China

While the ‘low-tar’ scheme has been widely recognised as a misleading tactic used by the tobacco industry to deceive the public about the true risks of cigarette smoking, a similar campaign using the slogan of ‘less harmful, low tar’ was launched by the Chinese tobacco industry, that is, State Tobacco Monopoly Administration/China National Tobacco Corporation and began to gain traction during the last decade. Despite the fact that no sufficient research evidence supports the claims made by the industry that these cigarettes are safer, the Chinese tobacco industry has continued to promote them using various health claims. As a result, the production and sales of ‘less harmful, low-tar’ cigarettes have increased dramatically since 2000. Recently, a tobacco industry senior researcher, whose main research area is ‘less harmful, low-tar’ cigarettes, was elected as an Academician to the prestigious Chinese Academy of Engineering for his contribution to developing ‘less harmful, low-tar’ cigarettes. The tobacco researcher’s election caused an outcry from the tobacco control community and the general public in China. This paper discusses the Chinese tobacco industry’s ‘less harmful, low-tar’ initiatives and calls for the Chinese government to stop the execution of this deceptive strategy for tobacco marketing.

Yang, G., Marketing ‘less harmful, low-tar’ cigarettes is a key strategy of the industry to counter tobacco control in China, Tob Control doi:10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2012-050691

Source: BMJ – 24 January 2013

Cyprus smoking ban and hospitality venues

Several countries, including Cyprus, have passed smoke-free legislation in recent years. The goal of this study was to assess the indoor levels of particulate matter in hospitality venues in Cyprus before and after the implementation of the law on 1/1/2010, evaluate the role of enforcement, and examine the legislation’s effect on revenue and employment.

Methods Several hospitality venues (n = 35) were sampled between April 2007 and January 2008, and 21 of those were re-sampled after the introduction of the smoking ban, between March and May 2010. Data on enforcement was provided by the Cyprus Police whereas data on revenue and employment within the hospitality industry of Cyprus were obtained from the Cyprus Statistical Service; comparisons were made between the corresponding figures before and after the implementation of the law.

Results The median level of PM2.5 associated with secondhand smoking was 161 mug/m3 pre-ban and dropped to 3 mug/m3 post-ban (98% decrease, p < 0.0001). Furthermore, in the year following the ban, the hotel turnover rate increased by 4.1% and the restaurant revenue by 6.4%; employment increased that same year by 7.2% and 1.0%, respectively.

Conclusion Smoke free laws, when enforced, are highly effective in improving the air quality and reducing the levels of indoor PM2.5. Strict enforcement plays a key role in the successful implementation of smoking bans. Even in nations with high smoking prevalence comprehensive smoking laws can be effectively implemented and have no negative effect on accommodation, food, and beverage services.

Christophi, C., et al., The impact of the Cyprus comprehensive smoking ban on air quality and economic business of hospitality venues, BMC Public Health 2013, 13:76

Source: BMC – 27 January 2013

Japan: Smoking and skin colour in women

Objectives Having a lighter skin tone is highly valued among many Asian women. If skin colour is affected by smoking, women may be motivated to avoid tobacco or quit smoking. The present study examined the association of tobacco smoking with skin colour in Japanese women.

Method Information on smoking habits was obtained through a self-administered questionnaire completed by 939 Japanese women aged 20–74 in Gifu, Japan, during 2003–2006. Skin colour was examined on the inner side of the upper and lower arm and on the forehead using a Mexameter device (a narrow-band reflective spectrophotometer), which expressed results as a melanin index and erythema index.

Results Current smokers had higher melanin indices than never-smokers and former smokers for all measured sites. The number of cigarettes smoked per day, the years of smoking and pack-years were significantly positively associated with melanin indices for all measured sites after adjustments for age, body mass index, lifetime sun exposure, and room temperature and humidity. Smoking was also significantly associated with erythema indices on the inner upper and lower arms.

Conclusions These data suggest that smoking is associated with a darker skin colour. If our findings are confirmed by further studies, they could be used in antismoking campaigns or by smoking cessation services.

Tamai, Y., et al., Association of cigarette smoking with skin colour in Japanese women, Tob Control doi:10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2012-050524

Source: BMJ – 26 January 2013

Smoking and HIV

Cigarette smoking is one of the most important causes of morbidity and mortality in the general population, and is a well-recognized risk factor for a variety of serious clinical conditions, including cardiovascular diseases, pulmonary diseases and cancers. Smoking-related morbidity and mortality are of particular concern in patients with HIV infection, as the prevalence of current cigarette smoking is higher among HIV-positive patients than among the general population. In a study by De et al., it has been evidenced that smoking is a risk factor for bacterial pneumonia in HIV-positive patients and smoking cessation reduces this risk. HIV-positive patients who smoke have significantly increased mortality compared to those who have never smoked, indicating that smoking confers different mortality risk in HIV-positive as compared to HIV-negative patients, and lifestyle-related factors may pose a greater hazard to long-term survival of HIV-positive patients than those related to the HIV infection per se. The high prevalence of smoking among HIV populations, the many health risks that can result from this behavior, and the proven efficacy of cessation interventions in HIV-positive patients should encourage HIV care providers to make smoking cessation a high priority.

Petrosillo and Cicalini, Smoking and HIV: time for a change?, BMC Medicine 2013, 11:16

See also:
Influence of smoking cessation on incidence of pneumonia in HIV, BMC

Source: BMC – 22 January 2013

11 February 2013 – Advancing the Global Non-Communicable Disease Movement

The aim of this two-day conference is to increase support for the commitments from the UN High Level Meeting on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by providing the evidence to help countries meet their commitments.

Day one: Launch of the new Lancet series on NCDs and development
Day two: Second annual symposium of the LSHTM Centre for Global NCDs with the Centre on Global Change and Health

Venue: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

19 February 2013 – The Battle against Big Tobacco, The adoption of the Tobacco Products Directive without Delay

In order to keep the momentum and address the challenges associated with the recent release of the Tobacco Products Directive, the MEPs Against Cancer, the Association of European Cancer Leagues (ECL), the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) and the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) are organising this double event on the 19th of February:

* A high-profile seminar aiming at presenting and discussing the Commission’s plans for health for the coming two years,
* An exhibition on tobacco control in Europe.

Speakers from the European Commission, MEPs and representatives from the Irish presidency of the Council of the European Union will attend the meeting and address issues related to one of the most controversial public health dossier.

Venue: European Parliament, Brussels

25 February 2013 – Plotting a New Course

Plotting a New Course is a forum for the critical analysis of responses to drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Two days of presentations, debate and discussion. Cross-cutting themes link social policy, public health, law enforcement, supply, treatment and harm reduction.
Venue: Friends House, Euston, London

14 March 2013 – Lunch Hour Lecture: Cigarettes: the most successful product ever

Despite five decades of research into the harms of smoking and numerous successful public health campaigns, many people take up and continue with the habit. Cigarette sales remain high as tobacco companies excel at marketing. In the United States, more than $8 billion was spent by the tobacco companies on marketing and advertising in 2011-12, compared to $457 million spent by the government in preventing or reducing tobacco use. This lecture will explore what has been learnt from 50 years of research, including the benefits of quitting at any age, and plans for future policies.

Speaker: Prof Allan Hackshaw, UCL Cancer Institute

Venue: Darwin Lecture Theatre access via Malet Place, Darwin Building, Gower St, London WC1E 6BT

20 March 2013 – ‘Making Smoking History’ – Faster strides towards a smokefree North East

To mark the moment in 2013 when local authorities take on responsibility for public health, Fresh with the Association of North East Councils is hosting a split 1½ day conference (funded by NHS North East) of presentations, panel discussions, audience debate and practical workshops, aimed at sharing ideas, evidence and innovation with senior decision makers, managers, elected members and also for those involved in the day to day delivery of tobacco control.

Registration closes on 28th February

Venue: The Ramside Hall Hotel, Carrville, Durham, DH1 1TD

21 March 2013 – European Healthy Stadia Conference 2013

This event will bring together decision makers from sports clubs, stadia, sports governing bodies, health agencies across Europe, including chief executives, facilities managers, corporate communications, catering managers, community foundation staff and CSR managers.
Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester

22 April 2013 – European Primary Prevention Conference (EPPC)

A conference focused on early tobacco-alcohol-drug prevention for young people and their families
Venue: Tallinn Health Care College, Tallinn, Estonia

31 May 2013 – World No Tobacco Day 2013

Every year, on 31 May, The World Health Organisation and partners everywhere mark World No Tobacco Day, highlighting the health risks associated with tobacco use and advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption.

The theme for World No Tobacco Day 2013 is: ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.

Venue: Everywhere

20 June 2013 – ASH Scotland 40th Anniversary Conference: Towards a Generation Free From Tobacco

Bringing together delegates from Scotland, the rest of the UK and across the world, the conference will provide an opportunity for tobacco control advocates, policy makers, researchers, health practitioners and community development professionals to learn from international good practice and innovation.

Themes to be explored include industry and regulation, protection from second-hand smoke, youth smoking prevention, cessation services in our communities and the role of advocacy in driving policy.

There will be a special focus on addressing health inequality and new ways of working with hard-to-reach groups.

Venue: The John McIntyre Conference Centre Holyrood Park, University of Edinburgh, Scotland

27 June 2013 – UK National Smoking Cessation Conference

Key topics for 2013 include the NICE guidance on tobacco harm reduction, e-cigarettes, electronic aids to cessation, getting the most out of current treatments, smoking cessation and mental health, international comparisons of tobacco treatment, treating pregnant smokers and the politics of tobacco growing – making it an essential event for everyone in the smoking cessation and tobacco control fields.
Venue: Victoria Park Plaza, London