ASH IRELAND WELCOMES EUROPEAN COURT OF JUSTICE DECISION AGAINST BIG TOBACCO

ASH Ireland welcomes the decision by the European Court of Justice today (Wednesday, May 4), to reject all three challenges brought forward by the tobacco industry against the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD).

The charges posed by Philip Morris International and British American Tobacco seeking to invalidate TPD as a whole, or various provisions of the Directive, were rejected along with the Polish state’s challenges on the ban on menthol flavours in cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco.

A third challenge brought by an electronic cigarette maker regarding the Directive’s provisions on e-cigarettes was also rejected by the Court.

Dr Patrick Doorley, Chairman ASH Ireland said: “The decision to reject all three challenges by the tobacco industry by the European Court of Justice is to be welcomed.
“It is vitally important that the tobacco industry does not unduly influence legislation, and it is also very significant that this decision by the European Court of Justice means that the legal challenge cannot be taken any further and the TPD will take effect on May 20, as originally intended,” added Dr. Doorley.

Dr Doorley concluded, “Close to 6,000 Irish people die from the effects of tobacco related disease each year – with close to 600,000 dying within the EU for the same reason. These are dreadful statistics and the EU with the support of national governments must do everything possible at European level to fight the scourge of nicotine addiction and the multiplicity of health related issues.”

For media enquiries contact ASH Ireland at 0818 305055. International Callers:  00 353 818 305055

Or contact: Wally Young, Young Communications 087-2471520

For further information please refer to the European Court of Justice press
release:
http://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2016-05/cp160048en.pdf

Read more here:
http://www.euronews.com/business-newswires/3188945-eus-highest-court-upholds-new-restrictive-law-on-cigarettes/

 

 

Employers should consider organising smoking cessation programmes.

ASH Ireland welcomes research published by the Department of Health earlier today, which give a clear and irrefutable overview of the economic cost of smoking in Ireland. (The research was conducted by ICF International (UK) in association with DKM Economic Consultants, Ireland).

Speaking after the publication of the research today, Dr Patrick Doorley, Chairman of ASH Ireland said, “ASH Ireland welcomes this vitally important research as it give us a clear picture of the significant economic downside to smoking on the individual and on society in general. Tragically we learn that some 5870 Irish citizens die each year because of smoking - a significant increase on the earlier estimate of 5,200.”

Dr Doorley continued, “The research also highlights the major economic loss due to smoking breaks and absence due to smoking related disease. The research confirms a productivity loss of €136 million due to smoking breaks and a loss of €224 million attributed to absence associated with smoking related illness. These figures highlight the need for employers to consider smoking cessation assistance for employees. There is considerable assistance available and many workers who are addicted to nicotine would value and respond to this offer of assistance - and also the opportunity to tackle the smoking addiction in a supportive and community type setting.

“For the first time we have specific Irish based research which confirms the economic cost of treating tobacco related disease. This is now estimated to be €506 million annually. This is broken down into; Hospital based costs €211m, Primary care costs €256m and Domiciliary care costs €40 million. We can imagine what our heath services could do at this time with an additional €506 million to spend in other vital areas.”

Other key findings from the Report/Research as follows:

Cost of litter

The estimated cost of smoking related litter is €69 million

Loss of welfare:
• The loss of welfare from morbidity relating to smoking is estimated at just under €1.5 billion (€1,355 million)

• The loss of welfare from premature mortality has been estimated at nearly €8 billion (€7,657 million)

For media queries please contact Ash Ireland offices. Tel: 0818 305055

International Callers:  00 353 818 305055. Email: info@ash.ie

Or contact Wally Young on 087-2471520

 ASH Ireland welcomes positive news from ‘Post-Implementation Review of Tobacco Plain Packaging in Australia’ 

 

 26 February 2016

 

ASH Ireland welcomes the positive news from the review of the implementation of Tobacco Plain Packaging in Australia, just published today.

 

The review finds that the implementation of plain packaging legislation “has begun to achieve its public health objectives of reducing smoking and exposure to tobacco smoke in Australia and it is expected to continue to do so into the future.” “This conclusion, the report finds,  is reached on the basis of the weight of available evidence, including pre-implementation experimental studies, post-implementation behavioural studies and the recent declines in smoking prevalence and consumption evident in major data sets”.

 

Dr Ross Morgan, Chairman of ASH Ireland said today, “For all of us who have been advocating for the introduction of standardised packaging of tobacco in Ireland; this is very good news. It also provides the Irish Government with definite evidence to show that plain packaging works and will saves lives – and we must now proceed to full implementation here in Ireland”

 

Dr Morgan went on to say, “Tragically smoking kills 5,200 of our citizens every year – and we must continue to take all necessary steps to reduce this dreadful statistic”

 

The Report and its appendices can be found on the Australian Government Office of Best Practice Regulation website at http://ris.dpmc.gov.au/2016/02/26/tobacco-plain-packaging/

 

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For contact: Young Communications – 087 2471520

 

 

ASH Ireland welcomes the commencement of the ban on smoking in cars with children.

 

17 December 2015

 
ASH Ireland welcomes the commencement of the enactment of the legislation which bans smoking in cars transporting children under 18, announced today.  This legislation is a further health initiative, which will help to ensure that our children are protected from the the harmful effects of passive (environmental) tobacco smoke. 

Dr Ross Morgan, Chairman of ASH Ireland said today “ASH Ireland Ireland first raised the possibility of introducing a ban on smoking in cars transporting children with the then Minister for Health, Mary Harney.  During his first few weeks in office, we again raised the possibility of introducing this legislation with Minister James Reilly and he gave a very positive indication in regard to our proposal.  The initiative was then taken up by Senator John Crown and this intervention was hugely important in driving the ASH Ireland proposal to the approval of the legislation and its enactment today”.

There is definitive evidence to show that non-smokers travelling in a car while another person is smoking will be harmed by the toxic chemicals which are released in such a restricted environment.  

Researchers in UC San Francisco have found that this secondhand smoke in cars poses a major health risk and that the toxins found are “thought to be the most important among the thousands in tobacco smoke that cause smoking-related disease”.  

It is also well established that children are particularly vulnerable to such toxins and that adults who suffer from asthma and other respiratory conditions are affected.  

 
ENDS  

For contact, Wally Young, Young Communications:  087-2471520 

 

 

European Court Decision facilitates government ‘plain packaging’ initiative.

23 December 2015

ASH Ireland welcomes a preliminary decision by the European Court of Justice today, which essentially supports the Irish Government plans to introduce plain packaging of tobacco – as already successfully introduced in Australia.

Dr Ross Morgan, Chairman of Ash Ireland and a Consultant Respiratory Physician said today, “ASH Ireland and indeed all of us who support the protection of our nations health welcome this decision by the European Court today. We now look forward to supporting the Irish Government with the introduction of standardised packaging, as a further anti-smoking health initiative. Over 5,200 of our citizens die from the effects of smoking each year – and treating the effects of smoking costs our health services in excess on 1 Billion euro annually – so measures must be taken to ease these dreadful statistics”

Today’s preliminary ruling comes after tobacco companies, Philip Morris and British American Tobacco, brought proceedings against the EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD).
 
Extract from ruling by the European Court of Justice today, 23 12 15 “Concerning the standardisation of the labelling and packaging of tobacco products, Advocate General Kokott finds that the requirements relating to the shape (cuboid), size and minimum content of cigarette packets are proportionate. They make a particular contribution to increasing the visibility of health warnings and maximising their efficacy”.

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For contact, Wally Young, Young Communications – 087 2471520

 

 

 

 

 

ASH Ireland urges the Irish Government to uphold its right to introduce progressive health legislation, 31st May 2015

WORLD NO TOBACCO DAY, TOMORROW 31st May 2015

 

On World No Tobacco Day 2015, it is vitally important that all of us bear in mind that since World No Tobacco Day in 2014, 5,200 people have died from tobacco related disease in Ireland and close to €2 billion has been spent on treating tobacco related disease within our health service.  Regrettably in the past year, 500,000 people have died from the effects of smoking within the EU and 6 million people have died worldwide.

Dr Ross Morgan said today, “What is particularly galling is that despite the massive loss of life and the massive health costs associated with smoking, the Irish Tobacco Industry is doing everything possible to block the Irish Government in introducing progressive health legislation.  The decision of the Tobacco Industry, as they had previously done in Australia, to drag the Irish Government before the courts as it rightly proposes to introduce standardised packaging of tobacco, is bitterly disappointing.  It is very clear to all of us in the health service and so many others that the Tobacco Industry has a single focus and that focus is profit and nothing else matters”

Dr Morgan went on to say “There is massive support for the Irish Government’s plan to introduce standardised packaging and that support will continue in the inevitable battle with the Tobacco Industry, which is now emerging in the Irish courts.  The introduction of similar legislation in Australia has proven to be 100% successful, with reduced smoking prevalence, young people generally finding the packs less attractive, no increase in tobacco smuggling, and much less opportunity for the Tobacco Industry to market its killer products to young people.”

Dr Morgan concluded by saying, “In the ASH Ireland presentation to the Joint Oireachtas Committee in 2014, which sat before the introduction of the standardised packaging legislation, I pointed out that tobacco is a unique product, in that it kills 50% of its users and no state or government should be forced into treating tobacco as a normal consumer product.  There is a myriad of established research to show the direct opposite.  I urge the Irish Government to take on the Tobacco Industry and ensure that its right to introduce progressive health legislation is not overturned by a vested interest, which has no regard for the health of the nation and is solely focussed on its profits, irrespective of the consequences.”

 

ENDS

For contact: ASH Ireland:  0818-305055

Wally Young, Young Communications:  087-2471520

 

ASH Ireland welcomes the passage of standardised packaging legislation through the Oireachtas

ASH Ireland today welcomed the passage of the standardised packaging legislation through the Oireachtas.  This is vitally important health legislation and we wish to compliment Minister James Reilly and all members of the Oireachtas who dealt with this important legislation with such efficiency and determination.  It is expected that the Bill will be signed into law later this month.

Dr Ross Morgan said today, “The Government and Oireachtas members are to be complimented on their determination in pushing ahead with this standardised packaging legislation, despite the threats from the Tobacco Industry.  We would also expect that should the industry mount a legal challenge on any aspect of this health legislation it will be vigorously contested.  Similar legislation has proven to be entirely positive in Australia with early indications of reduced smoking prevalence and scientific evidence to show that young people find standardised pack less attractive.” 

ASH Ireland is firmly of the view that the successful implementation of this legislation here in Ireland will set the scene for others to follow in Europe as was the case with the workplace smoking legislation some 11 years ago. 

All of us must recognise that over 5,200 people die from the effects of smoking in this country each year and we spend well over €1 billion annually treating tobacco relating disease.  Theas are dreadful statistics which we must tackle with every means at our disposal and legislative change is a key part of this.

Dr Morgan concluded by saying, “in recent weeks it emerged that some legal companies were advising the tobacco industry and various elements of our health services. This is an apparent conflict of interest which must be examined further and it seems clear that the status quo in this area is entirely unsatisfactory”

ENDS

For contact: ASH Ireland:  0818-305055

Wally Young, Young Communications:  087-2471520

ASH Ireland welcomes the launch of a Bill in the Oireachtas today, by Senators John Crown and Averil Power, which will hopefully lead to the regulation of electronic cigarettes

Like most health focussed organisations, ASH Ireland has been keeping the issue of e-cigarettes constantly under review. Despite an initial hope that these products could be of assistance in regard to cessation, we are now forming a view that this product, which is being marketed forcefully by the Tobacco Industry, may become another addictive product with few benefits and little impact on smoking cessation possibilities. We have noted and responded to the Irish health authorities (HSE) decision to ban e-cigarettes in all its facilities. We have also noted that in some jurisdictions e-cigarettes are being banned, and in other countries such as Ireland, authorities are struggling with the appropriate response. The lack of regulation in regard to manufacture, content levels and marketing is an on-going concern. E-cigarettes, despite their current presentation as an attractive item on the one hand, and less harmful than tobacco on the other, carry nicotine which is highly addictive and can be dangerous if not consumed in appropriate and recommended doses. Some recent publicity is actually highlighting the poisonous qualities of nicotine in the e-cigarette environment.

The lack of definite research in regard to benefits or cessation possibilities in regard to the use of e-cigarettes is an on-going concern, as some years ago there were expectations that such outcomes could have been possible.

As the Tobacco Industry has invested heavily in this product; it will be more difficult to see any agenda other than profit being pursued by the manufacturers.

ASH Ireland will continue to keep the e-cigarette environment under review and we will continue to communicate with the Irish Government in regard to the publication of guidelines and regulation on this product.

Tight regulations on e-cigarettes proposed by senators is most welcome.

 ENDS 

For contact: ASH Ireland:  0818-305055

Wally Young, Young Communications:  087-2471520

Smoking and Pregnancy

ASH Ireland has noted the contents of a report, “Maternal Health Behaviours and Child Growth in Infancy”, published today by the Growing Up in Ireland Study team, which among other things, deals with smoking rates among women who are pregnant. 

The fact that 13% of Irish women continue to smoke while pregnant is of concern, however, we must also recognise that this is a significant decrease on the 28% of pregnant women found to be smoking back in 1999. We have also noted that the smoking rates apply primarily to people in the lower socio economic groups. It is crucially important that support and investment is provided so that these women who continue to smoke during pregnancy can find ways of quitting.  This is a challenge for our health services. 

There is long established evidence to show that babies born to women who smoke during pregnancy are of lower body weight and this of course does raise health issues for the baby at birth and into the future. 

ASH Ireland would of course encourage all persons who smoke to attempt to quit, especially pregnant women, but we also realise that many people will require significant support and assistance to do so.

 

ENDS 

For contact: ASH Ireland:  0818-305055

Wally Young, Young Communications:  087-2471520

ASH Ireland welcomes ban on smoking in cars transporting children

ASH Ireland welcomes the passing of legislation, which protects children from other people’s second hand smoke, while being transported in motor vehicles.  This is important health legislation, which hopefully will have widespread support. This legislation concluded its various stages through the Oireachtas on Thursday, 18th December.

Dr Ross Morgan, Chairman of ASH Ireland said, ‘There is definitive evidence to show that non-smokers travelling in a car, while another person is smoking, will be harmed by the toxic chemicals which are released in such a restricted environment.  It is also well established that children are particularly vulnerable to such toxins as their vital organs are not fully developed’. 

The American Cancer Society advises that ‘if someone smokes there (in a car), the poisons can build up quickly. Again, this can be especially harmful to children’.

The US Environmental Protection Agency warns, ‘The developing lungs of young children are severely affected by exposure to secondhand smoke for several reasons including that children are still developing physically, have higher breathing rates than adults, and have little control over their indoor environments’.

Researchers in UC San Francisco have found that this secondhand smoke in cars poses a major health risk and that the toxins found are “thought to be the most important among the thousands in tobacco smoke that cause smoking-related disease”.

Dr Ross Morgan also said “ASH Ireland first raised the possibility of introducing a ban on smoking in cars with the then Minister for Health, Mary Harney.  During his first few weeks in office, we again raised the possibility of introducing this legislation with Minister James Reilly and he gave a very positive indication in regard to our proposal.  The initiative was then taken up by Senator John Crown and this intervention was hugely important in driving the ASH Ireland proposal to its legislative conclusion”.

Note. The American Association of Cancer Research, in research published last month (November 2014) found that ‘Nonsmokers sitting in an automobile with a smoker for one hour had markers of significantly increased levels of carcinogens and other toxins in their urine, indicating that secondhand smoke in motor vehicles poses a potentially major health risk’.  The report went on to state, ‘The nonsmoking passengers showed elevated levels of butadiene, acrylonitrile, benzene, methylating agents and ethylene oxide’.

ENDS 

For contact: ASH Ireland:  0818-305055

Wally Young, Young Communications:  087-2471520