From Action on Smoking and Health <[email protected]>
Subject ASH Daily News for 22 April 2024
Date April 22, 2024 2:21 PM
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** 18 April 2024

** UK

** ‘I started smoking at 11 – the tobacco bill would have stopped me getting cancer’ (#1)

** John Humphrys - Smoking: Bring on the Nanny State? (#2)

** Analysis: How Britain was already winning the war on smoking- without banning it (#3)

** The Today Podcast: Smoke-free generation: Is this Sunak’s legacy? (#4)

** Deborah Arnott on BBC World Service News Hour (#5)

** Electoral Dysfunction Podcast (#6)

** UK

** 'I started smoking at 11 – the tobacco bill would have stopped me getting cancer’

A former smoker has told i that the Tobacco and Vapes Bill would have stopped her from developing cancer if it had passed when she was a child – and could prevent her grandchildren from “killing themselves”.

Mother of three, Sue Mountain, 58, from South Shields, received her laryngeal cancer diagnosis in 2012, having been a regular smoker since the age of 11.

“The first thing I did when I got my diagnosis was, I went outside the hospital and lit up a cigarette,” Ms Mountain told i. “I had been telling myself, ‘I need a cigarette for sad moments like these.’ I loved cigarettes – that’s how an addicted mind works.”
Reacting to the Commons voting in favour of Rishi Sunak’s Tobacco and Vapes Bill on Tuesday, Ms Mountain said she was “over the moon”.

“If this bill had been passed when I was 11, I would have never got cancer,” she said. “It would have meant my whole family would never have gone through my cancer journey.”

The proposed law, which will make it illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone born after 1, January 2009, passed its second reading by 383 to 67, a majority of 316.

“The thought that my grandchildren will never be able to buy cigarettes gives me the biggest smile,” Ms Mountain said. “We are stopping them from killing themselves.”

“Young people do not look at the consequences of what you can do. They never think they will get cancer, you think you are going to last forever. Nothing would have stopped me at 18 or 19.”

Ms Mountain told i: “To those MPs that voted against the bill I would like to ask them – should you not be looking after your constituents?

“It is not about a nanny state, it is about saving lives,” Ms Mountain added.
According to health campaigners Fresh, more than 80 per cent of tobacco smokers start as teenagers, causing up to 64,000 deaths in England since 2000.

Ailsa Rutter OBE, director of Fresh, said: “Tobacco needs to be treated in this way because it is unique in how lethal it is. No other product than tobacco is guaranteed to kill early two thirds of its lifelong customers.”

Tobacco addiction usually starts when people are children so it completely deprives people of any choice. Most smokers also regret ever starting and most try to stop many times. It is not a free choice when you are addicted.”

Source: The I, 18 April 2024

Read Here ([link removed])

** John Humphrys - Smoking: Bring on the Nanny State?

Writing in a blog post for YouGov, broadcaster and journalist John Humphrys, discusses the Tobacco and Vapes Bill which will raise the age of sale so that the next generation will never be able to buy tobacco.

Humphry’s recalls the tonsilitis operation he had in his twenties which stopped his already twenty a day smoking habit. Humphreys remembers a time when smoking was a ‘rite of passage’ and nearly all your friends did it. By stopping him from continuing to smoke, Humphrys reflects that tonsilitis probably saved his life.

Humphrys acknowledges that the bill has a strong public support as shown by opinion polls, but that some questions still remain over the implementation of the ban and whether we should be wary of ‘nanny state’ arguments.

In response to this, Humphry starts by discussing the fact that the ban will apply to the sale of smoking, not the act of smoking meaning – for those who can still purchase cigarettes there will be no obvious change.

Indeed, the structure of the ban will mean no one loses the ability to smoke, with only those born in 2009 or later, affected. To enforce the ban the government is introducing fines for shops and a £30m package for enforcement.

Such measures, Humphrys continues, are justified by health statistics. Smoking still causes around 80,000 deaths per year, costing the UK economy around £17bn every year. The government says that the smoking ban has the potential to prevent more than 470,000 cases of smoking related disease, such as heart disease and lung cancer by the end of the century.

Humphrys quotes a passage from a 1950 study by Sir Richard Doll and Sir AUstin Bradford into the effects of smoking, recently highlighted by Professor Jonathan Grigg in a letter to the Times: “Their subsequent long-term study of 40,000 UK doctors firmly established that smoking not only caused lung cancer but also a wide range of other life-shortening conditions. Why this evil business has been allowed to continue for so long must be difficult to comprehend for families of loved ones who have died prematurely from smoking.”

Source: YouGov, 19 April 2024
Read Here ([link removed])

** Analysis: How Britain was already winning the war on smoking- without banning it

Writing in the Telegraph, features writer Abigail Buchanan and data editor Ben Butcher discuss the Government’s Tobacco and Vapes Bill. They state that the Bill is a source of “deep division” within the Conservative party, with some critics labelling it “profoundly unconservative”. Others argue the war on smoking is one that the UK has essentially already won. This article asks whether the age of sale ban is needed.

The authors begin with recognising that a clear majority of voters support Sunak’s ban. This is shown by recent polling conducted by Savanta for The Telegraph, which found almost six in 10 people (59 per cent) supported the policy, while just one in five (20 per cent) opposed it.

They also note that the health burden from smoking remains high. Smoking remains the single biggest preventable cause of disability and death in the UK, which is seen in a huge loss of life and cost to the NHS.

Yet, the article references several critics of the ban within the Conservative Party. Kemi Badenoch, Penny Mordaunt and Suella Braverman did not support the legislation. Former prime minister Truss is also quoted, calling it a “profoundly unconservative” move by the “health police”; Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg dismissed the policy as “absurd”. The authors also highlight criticism from Christopher Snowdon, head of lifestyle economics at the tobacco industry-funded Institute of Economic Affairs.

However, the authors state that: “Ideological arguments about the merit of a ban aside, it is true that the UK’s clampdown on smoking has been a success story to date.” –thanks to legislation, smoking rates have been declining, with WHO analysis showing the UK to have "cut smoking more than any other western country since 2000, with the exception of Austria, Sweden and Norway."

The authors note the affect this has had on youth smoking rates. According to data from Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), the proportion of 14-year-olds who smoked regularly fell from 7 per cent in 2011 to 1 per cent in 2021, similarly it fell from 11 per cent to 3 per cent amongst 15-year-olds in the same period.

Smoking continues to be most common amongst those in deprived areas and amongst those who are unemployed or in manual occupations. However, a recent UCL study ([link removed]) has also noted an increase in smoking amongst middle class women.

The authors conclude: “When smoking dies out, we will be healthier for it. But a phased ban could be a blunt tool given it was already running out of puff.”

Source: The Telegraph, 20 April 2024
Read Here ([link removed] )

** The Today Podcast: Smoke-free generation: Is this Sunak’s legacy?

On this week’s podcast Amol Rajan and Nick Robinson look at what the plan to end smoking for the younger generation – which passed its first parliamentary hurdle this week – says about the direction of the Conservative Party and the control Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has over his MPs. Source:

Source: The Today Podcast, 18 April 2024
Listen Here ([link removed])

** Deborah Arnott on BBC World Service News Hour

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of ASH, appears on BBC Newshour alongside Max Marlow of the Adam Smith institute (which has previously accepted tobacco industry funding) to discuss the Tobacco and Vapes Bill.

Listen at timestamp 45:00

Source: BBC World News Service, 20 April 2024
Listen Here ([link removed] )

** Electoral Dysfunction Podcast

After the Commons votes to ban anyone born after 1 January 2009 from buying cigarettes, Beth Rigby, Jess Phillips, and Ruth Davidson ask whether the policy is "unconservative" as suggested by some MPs.

Listen from 9:45 for the segment on the smoking legislation
Listen Here ([link removed])
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ASH Daily News is a digest of published news on smoking-related topics. ASH is not responsible for the content of external websites. ASH does not necessarily endorse the material contained in this bulletin.

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