From Action on Smoking and Health <[email protected]>
Subject ASH Daily News for 8 November 2022
Date November 8, 2022 3:02 PM
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** 8 November 2022

** UK

** UK plan to scrap all EU laws suffers new setback (#1)

** Scotland could regain 'UK public health leader' crown says new charity head (#2)

** International

** 'We need food, not tobacco' is the focus of World No Tobacco Day 2023 (#4)

** Republic of Ireland: Schools urged to halt training of teachers about alcohol funded by the drink industry (#5)

** UK

** UK plan to scrap all EU laws suffers new setback

A plan by ministers to review or repeal all EU laws on the UK statute book by the end of 2023 has suffered another setback after the discovery of 1,400 additional pieces of legislation to the existing 2,400 EU laws. Rishi Sunak has started backing away from his ambitious proposals made in his first bid for the Tory leadership this summer to complete the exercise within 100 days.

Grant Shapps, the new business secretary, is said by allies to be keen to slow down the review of EU laws after being warned that hundreds of extra staff across Whitehall would be needed to complete the task, often involving external legal advice and consultation with business groups. The business department declined to say whether it was still wedded to completing the task by the end of 2023.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, the former business secretary, had promoted a retained EU law (revocation and reform) bill as a flagship piece of legislation to maximise what he said were the “opportunities of Brexit”. While it aims to complete the review by the end of next year, the Rees-Mogg legislation allows ministers to ask for more time, until 2026, and a looser timetable for the whole exercise is now likely, said government officials. The bill is currently in its committee stage of scrutiny in the House of Commons. Sunak’s office declined to say whether it might be amended, adding the government was proceeding with the bill.

The business department said it was committed to “taking full advantage of the benefits of Brexit ”. Reviewing EU laws was “an essential exercise in accelerating regulatory reform and reclaiming the UK statute book”, it added. Business groups however have warned deregulation for its own sake could add extra costs to companies in difficult economic times.

Source: Financial Times, 8 November 2022
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** Scotland could regain 'UK public health leader' crown says new charity head

David McColgan, the new leader of British Heart Foundation Scotland and chair of ASH Scotland, said he believes there is "an appetite" with the SNP administration to push smoking laws further and for Scotland to emerge as a UK leader in public health.

Coronary heart disease is still the number one killer in Scotland. Cigarette smokers are 2 to 4 times more likely to get heart disease than non-smokers.

While overall smoking rates have declined in Scotland, differences by deprivation have increased, with rates highest in the most deprived areas, highlighting that smoking remains an ongoing health inequality challenge. McColgan said Maree Todd, Minister for Public Health, was "really passionate" about the issue after the passing of her husband earlier this year, adding that Scotland is in a “positive place with a minister like Maree Todd”.

McColgan said: "If we could get everyone to stop smoking today, heart disease rates would plummet, so would cancer and a whole range of things." Asked if Scotland could follow New Zealand’s lead on tobacco control measures, including raising the age of sale incrementally each year, he said: "I think the Scottish Government has got a strong record in tobacco control and I think there is an appetite there to be that public health nation again.” McColgan said the country was already a step ahead of England in driving forward legislation to ban junk food price promotions such as two-for-one offers by Spring next year.

Source: Herald Scotland, 7 November 2022
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** International

** 'We need food, not tobacco' is the focus of World No Tobacco Day 2023

The World Health Organisation (WHO) this week announced the 2023 global campaign for World No Tobacco Day – focused on growing sustainable food crops instead of tobacco.

Tobacco production currently occupies an estimated area of ​​4 million hectares, grown in over 125 countries as a cash crop, and plays a crucial role in determining a country’s agriculture and food security. Scarce arable land and water that would otherwise be used for much-needed food crops are being used for tobacco cultivation and forest land destroyed to make fuel for curing tobacco leaves.

The harmful effects of cultivation on the environment are particularly evident in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), with farmers often under pernicious contractual agreements with the tobacco industry. The tobacco industry typically provides farmers with the seeds and other materials needed to grow tobacco and then takes the costs out of the profits, though farmers are often unable to repay the loan in full after the industry can fail to give farmers a fair price for their product.

World No Tobacco Day 2023 will serve as an opportunity to mobilise governments and policy makers to support farmers to switch to sustainable crops by enabling market conditions for alternative crops. These crops will feed farmers’ families and millions of others globally, help them break free from the vicious cycle of tobacco-growing debt, and support a healthier environment overall. The campaign will also aim to raise awareness of the ways in which the tobacco industry interferes with efforts to replace tobacco growing with sustainable crops, thereby contributing to the global food crisis.

Dr Ruediger Krech, Director of Health Promotion at the WHO, said: “The tobacco industry is using farmers’ livelihoods by creating front groups to lobby against policy changes aimed at reducing the demand for tobacco. We must protect the health and wellbeing of farmers and their families, not only from the damages of tobacco cultivation, but also from the exploitation of their livelihoods by the tobacco industry.”

Source: ExBulletin, 8 November 2022

See also: WHO announcement - We need food, not tobacco: World No Tobacco Day 2023 ([link removed])
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** Republic of Ireland: Schools urged to halt training of teachers about alcohol funded by the drink industry

Schools are to be urged to avoid sending their teachers to training developed by Drinkaware, an organisation that receives most of its funding through donations from the alcohol industry. The Irish Community Action on Alcohol Network (I-CAAN) is to write to schools, highlighting what it sees as key issues with Drinkaware providing education-based programmes for children and young people.

As previously reported by the Irish Examiner, Drinkaware is continuing to offer its programmes to schools against the advice of the HSE, the Department of Health, the Department of Education, the Taoiseach, and the Minister for Education. To date, 15,000 students are estimated to have been educated with resources from the Drinkaware schools’ programme.

According to I-CAAN: “There are some areas that should be considered no-go areas for the alcohol industry and where the advice, the evidence, and the conflicts of interests between the profit-driven motives of the industry and public health are clear. This includes industry support for, or provision of, education-based programmes for children and young people, and the use of alcohol-industry-developed or alcohol-industry-funded materials in any educational setting.”

In March 2022, I-CAAN launched the ‘i-Mark’, an initiative requiring organisations to commit to analysing and understanding the conflict of interest between health and wellbeing and the motives of alcohol industry-funded charities, corporate social responsibility activities, and interest groups.

The letter includes findings of a recent UK study analysing three sources of teaching materials developed with alcohol industry funding: Drinkaware for Education; The Smashed Project, funded by Diageo; and Talk About Alcohol, developed by Alcohol Education Trust. The letter writes: “They all promote children’s familiarisation with and normalisation of alcohol as a ‘normal’ adult consumer product which children must learn about and master how to use ‘responsibly’. They contain similar misinformation to the publicly-focussed materials promoted by industry sources, including selective presentation and omission of risks. Some of the programme materials appear to include prompts to drinking.”

Source: Irish Examiner, 1 November 2022
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