Messages advising smokers to ‘make this your last pack’ and turn to vaping could be printed inside cigarette packet under new recommendations
- Inserts were banned under strict laws introduced in 2016 by the Government
- But the Commons Science and Tech Committee argues it should be overturned
- Vaping – the term for using e-cigs – is less harmful than conventional smoking
- Philip Morris International – owners of Marlboro – has mocked-up some inserts
Messages advising smokers to ‘make this your last pack’ could be printed on leaflets inside packets under new recommendations.
Inserts were banned under a raft of laws introduced in 2016 by the Government in desperate hope of slashing smoking rates.
But the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee argues it should be overturned to advertise the use of e-cigarettes.
Vaping – the term for using e-cigs – is less harmful than conventional smoking, known to directly cause cancer and heart disease.
Philip Morris International – owners of Marlboro – has designed a version of inserts that could be placed in cigarette packets.
Messages advising smokers to ‘make this your last pack’ could be printed on leaflets inside packets under new recommendations
In its mock-up leaflets, smokers would be told ‘there are more alternatives than ever before’ in terms of giving up the deadly habit.
They would also state ‘the best decision any smoker can make is to quit’ and say e-cigs and heated tobacco ‘offer better choices’.
On the back of the draft six-fold insert is a link to a website created by PMI, offering smokers further advice on how to quit.
Ministers would have to approve the recommendations before the law is overturned.
They have nine months to make a final decision on implementing the guidelines but often health officials acknowledge the evidence and move quicker.
In the 66-page report, the committee made of 11 MPs described the ban on inserts in cigarette packaging as a ‘regulatory anomaly’.
In its mock-up leaflets, smokers would be told ‘there are more alternatives than ever before’ in terms of giving up the deadly habit
COULD THE 28-YEAR BAN ON SNUS BE OVERTURNED?
The House of Commons Select Committee has also urged the Government to consider ending the 28 year old ban on oral tobacco product snus.
Snus has been banned in this country and across the EU since 1992 amid cancer fears.
But the committee has called for ‘an evidence-based assessment of the case for discontinuing the ban on snus, in its new report.
The product, which sees tea-bag-style pouches placed between the top lip and gum, can contain similar levels of nicotine to three cigarettes.
England and Leicester striker Jamie Vardy admitted using the product in his autobiography and was pictured carrying it at Euro 2016.
Snus is legal in Sweden, and has been hailed for helping smoking rates to plummet to 5 per cent in the Scandinavian country – the lowest in the EU.
Professor Riccardo Polosa, a smoking researcher at the University of Catania, gave oral evidence to the Select Committee.
He said ‘there is a strong consensus among the scientific community that the ban on snus is entirely disproportionate.
‘Without a shadow of a doubt snus is vastly safer than smoking.’
Professor Gerry Stimson, of the New Nicotine Alliance charity, said: ‘This report is a milestone for harm reduction.’
He added that ‘it is also the beginning of the end for the grotesque mistake of banning snus’.
It said: ‘Some aspects of the regulatory system for e-cigarettes appear to be holding back their use as a stop smoking measure.
‘A ban on advertising “tobacco” products has prevented manufacturers putting “Pack insert” information about e-cigarettes in cigarette cartons.
‘The Government, together with the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) and the MHRA, should review all these regulatory anomalies.’
The committee, chaired by former health minister Norman Lamb MP, was founded to ensure Government policies are based on the most up-to-date evidence.
Dr Moira Gilchrist, vice president of scientific and public communications at PMI, gave evidence to the committee about the benefits of packet inserts.
She welcomed the recommendation in the final report and said the tobacco giant, based in New York, ‘strongly supports’ the guidance.
Dr Gilchrist said: ‘The relaxation of regulations would allow smokers to be informed about the health benefits of alternatives to smoking such as e-cigarettes.
‘This would allow us to insert information about quitting – or switching to smoke free alternatives – directly into cigarette packets.
‘Much more needs to be done to ensure smokers understand alternatives, like e-cigarettes, are a much better choice than continuing to smoke cigarettes.’
The ban on inserts in cigarette packets was introduced in May 2016, alongside a raft of other measures:
- Manufacturers were told all packets had to be the same olive green colour, with the same font, size, case and text appearance
- All must contain a minimum of 20 cigarettes to make sure they can carry graphic warnings that cover two thirds of the packet
- Packaging of hand-rolled tobacco must also be in the same drab green colour and pouches must contain a minimum of 30g of tobacco
The move followed a ruling from the European Court of Justice which approved the rules in a bid to slash the number of smokers across the EU by 2.4 million.
‘Postcode lottery’ faced by smokers seeking NHS help to give up their addiction is slammed by charities
Charities today slammed the ‘postcode lottery’ smokers face in seeking NHS help to give up their addiction to the killer habit.
Public health budget cuts have meant thousands of smokers have been left to quit without the vital support they need to quit.
And statistics have today unearthed a huge gulf in rates of smokers across England, who successfully gave up using the free NHS services.
Access to the stop smoking services – vital in helping people quit – varies depending on how well funded local authorities are.
Just 24 per cent of smokers who tried to give up managed to in Cumbria in the past year – compared to Staffordshire, where success rates were 88 per cent.
Alison Cook, director of policy at the British Lung Foundation, warned NHS stop smoking services are vital in response to the statistics.