From Action on Smoking and Health <[email protected]>
Subject ASH Daily News for 16 May 2024
Date May 16, 2024 11:17 AM
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** 16 May 2024

** UK

** Public health expert lambasts UK government as fund to tackle inequality launches (#1)

** Vape adverts on football shirts set to be banned in bid to protect kids (#2)

** Golden Virginia owner Imperial Brands bolstered by higher tobacco prices (#3)

** Almost £30k worth of counterfeit vapes seized from shops across Tameside (#4)

** UK

** Public health expert lambasts UK government as fund to tackle inequality launches

One of the UK’s leading public health experts has attacked the Conservative government’s record on health inequality, expressing hope that the next government will “take the right steps” to tackle the problem.

Speaking as he launches a fund to tackle the link between economic deprivation and poor health, Sir Michael Marmot said he had been snubbed by the current government and wanted to see cuts to education and public services reversed.

Marmot authored a seminal 2010 review into the link between health and wealth, which found that people in more deprived areas had shorter life expectancies. Since that report, the UK has got worse on many measures including life expectancy, child poverty and long-term sickness.

The latest study by the Institute of Health Equity at University College London, which Marmot leads, has found that more than 1 million people in England died prematurely in the decade after 2011 owing to a combination of poverty, austerity and Covid.

There are nine “Marmot places” – where action is being taken to improve health and reduce health inequalities – across England and Wales including Coventry, Manchester, Leeds, Luton and Gwent. More than 40 local authorities have said they want to reduce health inequalities.

The Institute of Health Equity has set up a £3m health equity fund with the investment group Legal & General (L&G).

The fund, which opens for expressions of interest on 4 June, will support local initiatives to improve housing, education, employment and nutrition.

It will finance up to 150 initiatives across the UK, up to £75,000 for each project. Projects could range from funding for schools in deprived areas to community programmes that address the social factors behind pressures on A&E services.

“This fund from Legal & General is a very positive initiative but it’s not going to reverse billions of pounds of cuts,” Marmot said. “We are realistic about that. If you’ve cut funding spending to local government by 34% over the decade, it’s not going to level up by itself but I hope to bring initiatives bubbling up, that scaled up could make a huge difference.”

Marmot said: “We want to encourage local initiatives, not to let central government off the hook, but to say, what can we do? What can local people do to break the link between poverty, funding cuts and worse health outcomes?”

Source: The Guardian, 14 May 2024

See also: Institute of Health Equity - Fair Society, Healthy Lives (The Marmot review) ([link removed]) | Institute of Health Equity - England’s Widening Health Gap: Local Places Falling Behind ([link removed])
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** Vape adverts on football shirts set to be banned in bid to protect kids

Ministers are set introduce plans to restrict vape adverts and sponsorships featuring on sports shirts, MPs heard.

Health Minister Dame Andrea Leadsom confirmed she will be bringing forward proposals to address concerns around vape advertisements as young people increasingly take up the habit. The Tobacco and Vapes Bill, which is currently passing through Parliament, is set to ban the sale of cigarettes to people born after 2009 and make vaping less attractive to young people.

SNP MP Kirsten Oswald has called for an amendment to the legislation to prohibit sponsorship agreements linked to vaping substances containing nicotine. It seeks to ban the advertising of vapes on sports strips and in sports venues.

In a committee debate on the bill on Tuesday, Dame Andrea said she was "mindful of the Committee’s clear desire for the rules on advertising and sponsorship to be equally strong for both tobacco and vapes". She said she "commits right now to explore formal steps we can take to further restrict vape advertising and sponsorship" in relation to Ms Oswald's amendment.

Pressed on what this meant, she added: "I would like to give the reassurance that I will be coming forward with proposals from the Government to address the issues that have been raised."

Speaking after Dame Andrea's commitment, Ms Oswald said: "Having campaigned for almost two years now to raise awareness of the detrimental impact of vapes on young people and, in particular, ban vape branding in sports, I am very pleased that the UK government has now recognised the need for action on this issue. I look forward to seeing the proposals they have committed to putting forward on this.

“Given this legislation aims to make vaping less attractive to young people, it makes sense to take steps to limit children’s exposure to vapes - and that means ensuring their favourite football team or sports star cannot advertise vapes, as they cannot with cigarettes."

Source: The Mirror, 15 May 2024
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** Golden Virginia owner Imperial Brands bolstered by higher tobacco prices

Higher tobacco prices helped Imperial Brands achieve its best organic sales growth in more than a decade.

The Golden Virginia and Rizla brand owner revealed net revenues from tobacco and next-generation products rose by 2.8 per cent in the six months ending March.

Tobacco prices expanded by 8.6 per cent, offsetting a 6.3 per cent drop in volumes amid broader market declines as consumers increasingly turn to safer alternatives.

Imperial's revenue from next-generation products, such as vaping and nicotine pouches, jumped by 16.8 per cent thanks to significant growth in Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Turnover still fell by 2.3 per cent to £15.1billion due to adverse currency fluctuations, while operating profits dipped by £40million to £1.49billion.

However, the FTSE 100 company boosted market share in three of its five biggest markets - the US, Spain, and Australia - and said it was 'firmly on track' to hit its full-year guidance.

Derren Nathan, head of equity research at Hargreaves Lansdown, noted: 'It's tobacco that's still driving financial performance, and management are keeping their balance on the delicate tightrope of asking smokers to pay up more for their habit without collapsing demand.

'Modest growth targets for this year and next remain intact, but for the valuation to enjoy a material re-rating, the rollout of next-generation products needs to accelerate.

'Progress is moving in the right direction, but to move the dial, further investment is required, and investors need to be mindful of increasing regulatory scrutiny.'

Source: Daily Mail, 15 May 2024
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** Almost £30k worth of counterfeit vapes seized from shops across Tameside

Almost £30,000 worth of illegal, counterfeit vapes were seized from shops across Tameside on Tuesday (May 14). The Council's trading standards team, along with environmental health officers and police visited a number of stores in the borough as part of Operation Spectre.

Officers attended a number of stores after receiving intelligence about suspected illegal activity - and to remind businesses about the laws surrounding the sale of age-restricted products such as knives, alcohol and electronic cigarettes, Tameside Council said.

During the visits, officers seized 2296 illegal vapes with a street value of £27,552 and illicit tobacco with a value of £159 from three shops. The shops have not been revealed, but the council said "appropriate enforcement action will be taken."

Tameside Council Executive Member for Environmental Services Cllr Denise Ward said: “Trade in illicit tobacco and e cigarettes supports crime rings, damages legitimate businesses, undermines public health and facilitates the supply of tobacco to young people.

"Public protection is a priority for us and I’m pleased to see this successful joint work with the police to help keep our local communities safe as well as to support responsible, local businesses that comply with the law.”

Source: Manchester Evening News, 15 May 2024
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