Copy

16 September 2021

UK

Tobacco firm Philip Morris seals £1.1bn takeover of UK inhaler maker Vectura

Campaign launched to cut secondhand smoke exposure in Sheffield after an increase during lockdown

Gove replaces Jenrick as communities secretary in cabinet reshuffle

Blog: What the Health Profile for England shows us about the wider impacts of COVID-19 on health

International

House Democrats propose tax rise on tobacco and vaping 

UK

Tobacco firm Philip Morris seals £1.1bn takeover of UK inhaler maker Vectura

 

The Tobacco company Philip Morris International (PMI) has completed its controversial £1.1 billion takeover of asthma inhaler maker Vectura after more than half of the company’s shareholders agreed to sell their shares. PMI said that it had reached just under 75% of the company, well ahead of the 50% it needed to complete a takeover. The offer has therefore become “unconditional”, meaning Vectura’s remaining shareholders cannot prevent it and can in effect be compelled to sell.

Vectura investors had been given until 15 September to decide whether to sell to PMI, which claims to have ambitions for a “smoke-free” future but still generates three-quarters of its revenue from cigarettes. Under market rules governing takeovers, PMI was not allowed to build its stake by buying shares from investors within the US. Having now reached the 50% mark, any remaining reluctant shareholders have little incentive to hold out as PMI would take control of Vectura anyway.

Sarah Woolnough, the chief executive of Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation, said: “Vectura has sold out millions of people with lung disease, and instead prioritised short-term financial gain over the long-term viability of Vectura as a business. Vectura is now owned by a tobacco company, and this could cause considerable problems, such as the firm being excluded from research and clinical networks. It creates perverse incentives for PMI to sell more of its harmful products so they might then profit again through treating smoking-related diseases. There’s now a very real risk that Vectura’s deal with big tobacco will lead to the cigarette industry wielding undue influence on UK health policy.”
 

Source: Guardian, 16 September 2021

Read Article

Campaign launched to cut secondhand smoke exposure in Sheffield after an increase during lockdown

A new campaign is urging people in Sheffield to make their homes smokefree after an increase in secondhand smoke exposure during the Covid-19 lockdown, specifically in households with children. Smokefree Sheffield’s new campaign aims to highlight the risks of passive smoking.

Secondhand smoke is one of the leading causes of poor respiratory health in children and exposure significantly increases the risk of stroke, heart disease. and lung cancer in adults. Lockdown has left even more children exposed to the dangers with 12% of smokers who live with children saying that they are smoking indoors more during lockdown and households with children 50% more likely to report being exposed to secondhand smoke during the lockdown.

Greg Fell, Director of Public Health Sheffield, said: “We know most smokers want to quit, so it’s vital that they get the support they need. With Stoptober just around the corner I want to urge smokers in Sheffield who want to quit to get in touch with their local stop smoking service. For those who aren’t quite ready yet, there are still positive steps they can take, like using other sources of nicotine, such as patches, gum or e-cigarettes when cravings strike, or making sure they smoke right outside.”


Source: ITV, 16 September 2021

Read Article

Gove replaces Jenrick as communities secretary in cabinet reshuffle


Michael Gove has been appointed as the new communities secretary after Robert Jenrick was sacked in yesterday’s (15 September 2021) cabinet reshuffle. In a tweet, 10 Downing Street said that this meant Gove was now responsible for levelling up, amongst other duties.

A former journalist, Gove has previously served as justice secretary and environment secretary. Some of his previous Cabinet Office responsibilities have touched upon local government, including “oversight of constitutional policy and enhancement, defending democracy and electoral law”, “devolution issues and strengthening the Union”, “leading public services recovery from Covid-19” and “leading cross-government and public sector transformation and efficiency”.

Top of Gove’s large in-tray is likely to be the Government’s imminent spending review, which will set departmental budgets for three years and is due to be announced on 27 October. The Government has also promised to publish a levelling up white paper later this year and the devolution debate is ongoing following the Government’s offer of county deals.

Elsewhere, Gavin Williamson was fired as education secretary and replaced by vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi whilst Dominic Raab was replaced by Liz Truss as foreign secretary. Nadine Dorries was also promoted from her role as junior health minister to a role as new culture secretary.


Source: LGC, 16 September 2021

See also: BBC News - Reshuffle: Boris Johnson continues changes after cabinet revamp

Read Article

Blog: What the Health Profile for England shows us about the wider impacts of COVID-19 on health


Justine Fitzpatrick and Natasha Roberts from Public Health England (PHE) discuss the five most important points made by PHE’s new report, Health Profile for England 2021, published today (16 September).

The report found that deaths in England had been 1.14 times higher than expected between 21 March 2020 and 2 July 2021, based on data for the previous five years. Deaths were particularly high in groups living in deprived areas (1.17 times higher) and in the Black and Asian population (1.50 times higher).

This caused life expectancy to fall in England in 2020 by 1.3 years for males to 78.7 years and by 0.9 years for females to 82.7 years, the lowest life expectancy for both since 2011. Effects on life expectancy were not evenly spread with the gap between the most and least deprived areas in England in 2020 standing at 10.3 years for males and 8.3 years for females.

The report also found that during the pandemic hospital admissions, A&E attendances, and the number of GP consultations all went down, particularly in the first wave. Surveys show that half of people with a worsening health condition between May 2020 and January 2021 did not seek treatment, most often because of concerns about catching Covid-19 or burdening the NHS. This meant that new diagnoses for some diseases such as cancer were considerably lower this year, with 16% fewer cancer diagnoses between April and December 2020 than in the same period in 2019.

It also found that there was an unprecedented increase of 20% in alcohol-specific deaths in 2020 compared with 2019. The report put this down mainly to increased alcoholic liver disease mortality, which is likely to be due to increased consumption of alcohol during the Covid-19 lockdown amongst an already at-risk group of heavy drinkers. It also found that dementia and Alzheimer’s disease remained the leading cause of death in England in females and the third largest in males. Smoking was found to still be the leading risk factor for mortality in England.
 

Source: PHE Public Health Matters, 15 September 2021

See also: Public Health England - Health Profile for England 2021

Read Article

International

House Democrats propose tax rise on tobacco and vaping

 

House Democrats have proposed a tax increase on tobacco and nicotine products as part of measures designed to help fund their $3.5 trillion (£2.5 trillion) spending plan. According to a plan summary, the measure would increase current levies on cigarettes, cigars, and roll-your-own and smokeless tobacco. The House Democrats have also proposed new taxes on vaping products.

The tax increase, part of a package of excise taxes, could bring in more than $96 billion (£69 billion) in revenue over the next decade, according to estimates from the Joint Committee on Taxation. While health advocates have applauded the plan, opponents say it violates President Joe Biden’s promise not to raise taxes on Americans making less than $400,000 per year.

Americans living below the poverty line have higher smoking rates than the general population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These individuals may smoke for twice as many years as those making triple that level of income. There are more than 34 million smokers in the U.S. and over 16 million are living with a smoking-related disease, according to the CDC. Cigarettes are the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States, causing 480,000 deaths per year.


Source: CNBC, 15 September 2021

Read Article
Have you been forwarded this email? Subscribe to ASH Daily News here.

For more information email enquiries@ash.org.uk or visit www.ash.org.uk 

@ASHorguk


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.  
Our mailing address is:
Action on Smoking and Health

Unit 2.9, The Foundry
17 Oval Way
London
SE11 5RR

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list