|The cost of smoking to the Welsh economy amounts to nearly £800m a year, according to a new report from ASH Wales.
The total figure is £790.66m of which the greatest expenditure is £302m spent on healthcare costs. The report also shows that lost productivity associated with premature deaths costs Wales £288m a year while £4m is lost to smoking breaks.
The Welsh Government welcomed the report and said that it was doing all it could to reduce smoking prevalence, including examining whether it would be able to go it alone in legislating for standardised packaging before Westminster.
|Thousands of people with mental health problems in England are “dying needlessly” every year, according to a new report from the charity Rethink Mental Illness.
The deaths include thousands from causes considered to be avoidable, including smoking. Patients with mental health problems are less likely to be given support to help them quit despite 40% of cigarettes being smoked by people with mental illness.
Norman Lamb, Minister for Care and Support, said that the Government would soon be publishing a five-year action plan on how to reduce avoidable deaths, including for people with mental health problems.
|40 State Attorney Generals in the US have called on the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to start regulating e-cigarettes in the same was as tobacco products.
The State Attorneys, who are all members of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), are urging the FDA to put in place a regulatory framework that would control the advertising, ingredients and sale of the devices to minors.
|The Canadian city of Toronto is considering whether to expand its smokefree law to include a host of outdoor areas, including restaurant and bar patios, beaches, sportsfields and entrances to public buildings.
Councillor Joe Mihevc, chair of the city’s health board, said that the proposals were the “next step” in protecting people from tobacco smoke.
The proposals follow a series of public consultations on a comprehensive strategy for a more smokefree Toronto during which the city’s top medical officer urged the city to strengthen its smokefree law.
|Agents of the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives conducted unauthorized undercover investigations, misused $162m in profits from their operations, and lost track of at least 420 million cigarettes, according to an official on Wednesday.
Auditors found that agency operatives sold $15 million worth of illicit cigarettes in operations which were not approved either by the ATF or the US Justice Department. Officials, who were heavily criticised for a lack of oversight, have vowed to tighten standards.
|Do you know anyone who is trying to quit smoking and would be interested in taking part in an online survey? If so, please pass on the following:
Psychologists at Northumbria University are conducting a study looking at how people respond to online information about quitting smoking. They are looking for smokers aged between 18-65 years who are thinking about quitting to take part. Participation is anonymous and you would receive £20 after you have completed all sessions.
Involvement would require you to complete an online survey at three time points. The first can be done as soon as you receive your login details and the survey link, and takes around 20 minutes to complete. The second (2 weeks later) and third session (3 months after the first session) take approximately 5 minutes to complete. All sessions can be completed in the convenience of your own home.
If you are interesting in taking part, please contact the researcher Dr Claire Hardy (email@example.com or 0191 227 3716) for more information.
This research has been granted ethical approval by Northumbria University’s Psychology Department (Ref: RE30-01-131677)
Illicit tobacco seized during raids on Northampton shops
· by Gemma Ellis
Published on the 19 September
Published 19/09/2013 17:44
Illicit tobacco has been discovered in a series of raids at shops in Northampton.
Almost 6,000 packets of illicit cigarettes and over 200 packs of illicit hand rolling tobacco where uncovered in six raids in Northampton shops.
Some of the tobacco was hidden behind pipes in a stock room toilet and more was found hidden in the top of a fridge.
Northamptonshire County Council’s trading standards department, supported by Northamptonshire Police and customs officials targeted six shops in the raids with trained sniffer dogs.
Councillor Andre Gonzalez de Savage (Con, East Hunsbury & Shelfleys), the council’s cabinet member for public protection said: “Sales of illegal cigarettes are usually done under the counter, as the tobacco is often either smuggled or counterfeit and hasn’t been put through proper quality control processes.
“Sales of illegal tobacco harm the interests of honest businesses and can be vastly more dangerous than legitimate tobacco, with high levels of nicotine, tar and heavy metals such as lead and arsenic.
“Some samples have even been found to contain rat droppings and asbestos.” (CTA: probably improves the taste)
The smuggling of tobacco costs the UK economy nearly £3 billion and is often linked to organised crime.
Around 22 per cent of cigarettes smoked in the East Midlands avoid UK tax and the penalty for these offences could include fines and imprisonment
Labour accepted payments from tobacco giant as cigarette packaging row rumbles on
The Labour Party has taken payments from the controversial tobacco giant Philip Morris and an industry pressure group lobbying against plain packaging for cigarettes.
The disclosure will leave Ed Miliband open to allegations of double standards after he demanded an inquiry into the Conservative Party’s links to Philip Morris Photo: AFP/Getty Images
By Tim Ross, Political Correspondent
12:52PM BST 22 Sep 2013
Philip Morris has hired a stall in a prominent location in the exhibition hall at Labour’s annual conference in Brighton, at a cost likely to run to several thousand pounds.
The disclosure will leave Ed Miliband open to allegations of double standards after he demanded an inquiry into the Conservative Party’s links to Philip Morris.
The tobacco giant hired the services of the public affairs company run by Lynton Crosby, the Conservative Party’s election strategist.
When the Coalition announced that it was dropping plans for all cigarettes to be sold in plain packages i July, Labour seized on the link as evidence that Mr Crosby had influenced government policy to suit his private clients, claims which both he and the Conservatives have denied.
Health campaigners and doctors criticised the decision to shelve plans for plain packaging. Making cigarettes less appealing in the shops would minimise the number of young who took up smoking, they said.
13 Jul 2013
17 Jul 2013
23 Jul 2013
01 Sep 2011
Labour’s shadow health minister, Diane Abbott, claimed that “the health of the nation” had been “sacrificed to the interests of big tobacco”.
In the Commons, Mr Miliband described David Cameron as “the Prime Minister for Benson and Hedge funds” as he accused the government of a clear conflict of interests.
However, Labour has also given exhibition space at this year’s conference to the Tobacco Retailers’ Alliance, a pressure group which opposes plans for plain packaging.
The alliance says that plain packaging would be “a gift to the criminal gangs, making branded tobacco products far easier to copy”, according to leaflets being distributed from its stand at the conference.
The literature quotes shopkeepers and news agents from across the country warning that plain packs would “increase tobacco smuggling”.
The alliance describes itself as a “network of 26,000 independent shopkeepers who all sell tobacco products” and seeks to defend their right to sell cigarettes “in a legal and responsible way”.
It is funded by the Tobacco Manufacturers Association and offers free membership to shopkeepers who sell tobacco.
“We campaign on issues of relevance to both their businesses and to the industry,” the alliance says.
The Tobacco Manufacturers Association receives its funding from three manufacturers: British American Tobacco, Gallaher, and Imperial Tobacco.
A Labour spokesman said: “Since David Cameron brought tobacco lobbyist Lynton Crosby into the heart of Downing Street, his government has U-turned on introducing standardised cigarette packaging.
“Labour has been clear that we back standardised cigarette packaging and our record in government, introducing the smoking ban and banning cigarette advertising, speaks for itself.
“The Labour Party exhibition includes stands from a wide range of charities, companies and organisations putting forward their points of view.”
UPDATE 1-Indonesia brings fifth WTO challenge to Australia tobacco laws
Fri Sep 20, 2013 12:38pm EDT
By Tom Miles
(Reuters) – Indonesia launched a complaint against Australia’s stringent
tobacco packaging laws on Friday, becoming the fifth country to raise
the restrictions at the World Trade Organization.
Australia has forced cigarette manufacturers to sell their products in
drab green packets with no colourful logos since late 2012, as part of a
health drive to cut down on the number of smokers.
Tobacco companies say their trademark rights are being infringed by the
restrictions, which are widely seen as a test case for other schemes
around the world.
Australia’s laws broke trade agreements on technical barriers to trade
and intellectual property rights, Indonesia said, according to a
statement from the WTO.
Ukraine, Honduras, Dominican Republic and Cuba have already filed
complaints at the WTO about Australia’s laws.
The earliest WTO ruling on the cases could come around mid-2014, with a
possible final appeal judgment in the second half of the year.
The case could take months longer, however, if the other complainants
decide to wait for Indonesia to catch up, and some WTO disputes have
dragged on for years
Stronger pack warnings predict quitting more than weaker ones: finding from the ITC Malaysia and Thailand surveys
We examined the impact of cigarette pack warning labels on interest in quitting and subsequent quit attempts among adult smokers in Malaysia and Thailand.
Two overlapping cohorts of adults who reported smoking factory- made cigarettes from Malaysia and Thailand were interviewed face-to-face (3189 were surveyed at baseline and 1781 re-contacted at Wave 2; 2361 current smokers were surveyed at Wave 2 and 1586 re-contacted at Wave 3). In Thailand at baseline, large text only warnings were assessed, while at Wave 2 new large graphic warnings were assessed. In Malaysia, during both waves small text only warnings were in effect. Reactions were used to predict interest in quitting, and to predict making quit attempts over the following inter-wave interval.
Multivariate predictors of “interest in quitting” were comparable across countries, but predictors of quit attempts varied. In both countries, cognitive reactions to warnings (adjusted ORs; 1.57 & 1.69 for Malaysia at wave 1 and wave 2 respectively and 1.29 & 1.19 for Thailand at wave 1 and wave 2 respectively), forgoing a cigarette (except Wave 2 in Malaysia) (adjusted ORs; 1.77 for Malaysia at wave 1 and 1.54 & 2.32 for Thailand at wave 1 and wave 2 respectively), and baseline knowledge (except wave 2 in both countries) (adjusted ORs; 1.71 & 1.51 for Malaysia and Thailand respectively) were positively associated with interest in quitting at that wave. In Thailand only, “cognitive reactions to warnings” (adjusted ORs; 1.12 & 1.23 at wave 1 and wave 2 respectively), “forgoing a cigarette” (adjusted OR = 1.55 at wave 2 only) and “an interest in quitting” (adjusted ORs; 1.61 & 2.85 at wave 1 and wave 2 respectively) were positively associated with quit attempts over the following inter-wave interval. Salience was negatively associated with subsequent quit attempts in both Malaysia and Thailand, but at Wave 2 only (adjusted ORs; 0.89 & 0.88 for Malaysia and Thailand respectively).
Warnings appear to have common mechanisms for influencing quitting regardless of warning strength. The larger and more informative Thai warnings were associated with higher levels of reactions predictive of quitting and stronger associations with subsequent quitting, demonstrating their greater potency.
1. Man Ping Wang1,
2. Xin Wang1,
3. Tai Hing Lam1,
4. Kasisomayajula Viswanath2,
5. Sophia S Chan3
+ Author Affiliations
1. School of Public Health, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
2. Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Center for Community-Based Research, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, US
3. School of Nursing, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
1. Correspondence to Professor Tai Hing Lam, School of Public Health, The University of Hong Kong, 21 Sassoon Road, Pokfulam, Hong Kong; firstname.lastname@example.org
Received 2 April 2013
Revised 29 August 2013
Accepted 30 August 2013
Published Online First 17 September 2013
Tobacco endgame policies are increasingly advocated to end tobacco use. This study investigated public support for a total ban on tobacco sales, use and possession in Hong Kong.
A telephone survey was conducted among 1537 randomly selected residents in 2012 to assess their support for a total ban on tobacco sales, usage and possession.
Information on sociodemographic characteristics, smoking, and second hand smoke exposure were collected. Logistic regression was used to investigate factors associated with support for a total ban.
Most of the never smokers (75.3%), ex-smokers (63.9%), and nearly half of current smokers (48.9%) backed some form of a total ban on tobacco. A total ban on tobacco sales was the most popular option among the three groups, with over half (64.8%) of all respondents supporting a ban within 10 years. Current smoking and higher educational attainment were associated with less support for a total ban on tobacco sales. Among current smokers, having quit intentions and attempts to quit were associated with support for a total ban.
A total ban on tobacco sales was supported by most respondents. Ex-smokers and current smokers also voiced substantial support, although less than never smokers. A total ban on tobacco sales before 2022 should be the goal as it is supported by most of the respondents. Interim tobacco control measures, such as tax increases, expansion of smoking cessation services and plain packaging should be implemented to help current smokers quit and reduce smoking initiation before implementation of the ban.
|Sutton and Cheam’s MP has argued in Parliament the Government must bring in non-branded cigarette packaging.
Paul Burstow said the issue must be addressed and compared the delays in action to the Government “kicking a can down the road”.
[the article includes an online poll on standard packaging]
|Rangers FC have announced a partnership with E-Lites electronic cigarettes.
E-Lites announced recently that they had become partners with the Rangers’ traditional rivals, Celtic.
|Smoking is set to be banned outright at the Tyrone County Hospital in Omagh after the Western Trust announced its intention to become Northern Ireland’s first ‘smoke free’ health body. It will implement the smoke-free policy to co-incide with National No Smoking Day on March 12 next year.|
|The Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform is considering pre-budget submissions from a range of charitable, interest and lobby groups.
During a discussion with a range of health interest groups, Labour TD Kevin Humphreys said the rise in the price of cigarettes in shops was forcing people to either buy smuggled or counterfeit products or go without essential items.
|Margaret Chan, director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) has accused tobacco giant Philip Morris of seeking to “sabotage” a proposed update of the EU’s tobacco directive, which was recently postponed in the European Parliament.
|Tobacco inflicts huge damage on the health of India’s people and could be clocking up a death toll of 1.5 million a year by 2020 if more users are not persuaded to kick the habit, according to a report by the International Tobacco Control Project.|
|Although the Health Ministry got a law passed 14 months ago to bar smoking along the platforms of the capital’s open-air light-rail stations – with each cigarette smoked worth a NIS 1,000 fine – the Jerusalem Municipality hasn’t issued a single fine for such violations since then.|
Tobacco giant Philip Morris ‘spent millions in bid to delay EU legislation’
Leaked documents show scale of Philip Morris efforts against anti-smoking directive
In the year to June 2012, PMI lobbyists claimed almost £1.25m in expenses for their meetings with MEPs. Photograph: Rex Features
Confidential documents have revealed the formidable lobbying operation waged by a tobacco giant seeking to undermine efforts to make cigarettes less attractive to children and women, and force packs to carry larger health warnings.
The documents obtained by the Observer show how Philip Morris International (PMI) employed 161 people to combat a proposed tobacco products directive (TPD), a major piece of European Union legislation that health campaigners say would save lives.
Under proposals by the commission’s ENVI public health committee, which had been due to be voted on this week in the European parliament, cigarette companies would be forced to include large pictorial health warnings on tobacco products covering 75% of the front and back of packs. There would also be a ban on all flavoured tobacco products – such as menthol, vanilla and strawberry – and on slim cigarettes and slim cigarette packs. These are seen as particularly attractive to younger smokers and to women, say health experts. The directive could also lead to e-cigarettes being regulated under pharmaceutical legislation and sold like medicines, something some new entrants in the market oppose.
On Thursday it emerged that the crucial vote had been postponed by MEPs until 8 October, a significant victory for the tobacco lobby. As a result, time is running out to introduce the directive before January when the presidency passes from Lithuania, which is pro-regulation, to Greece, which is opposed to tobacco control.
“There is little time to get the directive passed before this parliament comes to an end and the whole process has to start again,” said Deborah Arnott, chief executive of health charity Ash.
Delaying the directive has been a key goal of the tobacco lobby. Internal PMI EU public affairs briefings from 2011 and 2012 – marked “private and confidential. For internal discussion and illustration purposes only” – show that the tobacco giant, which now employs David Cameron’s election strategist Lynton Crosby as a consultant, was intent on derailing the directive.
In one slide dated 9 August 2012, PMI discusses whether its strategic objective is to “push” (ie remove elements of the directive) or to “delay” it. A company spreadsheet reveals that it used 161 employees and consultants in lobbying. It shows that in the year to June 2012, the lobbyists claimed almost £1.25m in expenses for their meetings with MEPs. The spreadsheet shows that by 22 June last year, 233 MEPs – 31% of the total – had been met by PMI at least once. In a separate spreadsheet, several MEPs are listed as having been met four or five times. Almost half of the European People’s Party and European centre-right groups met with PMI’s lobbyists, the documents show.
The internal slides also show how PMI targeted farmers’ organisations, retail bodies and trade and business associations to reach high-level decision makers in the European parliament and the European Commission.
There is also evidence that the company commissioned academic and economic studies to promote its claims.
One slide showed PMI’s intention to generate avis négatifs (negative opinions) about proposals put forward by the EC’s Sanco directorate – the body charged with ensuring health and consumer protection.
Another slide explained that it was PMI’s objective to ensure “that menthol be excluded from characterising flavours ban in TPD”. PMI said it would not comment on the confidential documents leaked to the Observer. However, in a statement it said it believed the directive was flawed. “It is up to the EU to set the timeline for considering this legislation, and it is our hope that these flaws will be addressed and that the EU implements a regulatory framework that is fair, science-based and makes sense in light of the EU’s priorities, without imposing unnecessary burden on the economy,” PMI said.
Separately, emails released under the Freedom of Information Act by the Department of Health reveal that concerns about the directive were shared by other tobacco firms.
Earlier this year the department feared that Imperial Tobacco had obtained protected information from the European Council working group, which was helping draw up the directive.
The matter raised concerns in Whitehall that the tobacco lobby was in receipt of market sensitive information, raising questions about the relationship between Brussels and lobbyists.
Imperial wrote to the department to say it was alarmed to learn that in April the government had spoken in favour of plain packaging for cigarettes during a European Council working group meeting and demanded confirmation from the department.
When asked to reveal the source of its information, Imperial declined to tell the department.
The department was forced to write to Imperial explaining that the council’s reports “are subject to principles of professional secrecy”.