Smile-on News Logo

Smile-on News

Healthcare Learning Logo

Tobacco firms lose plain packaging appeal

30 November 2016

Tobacco firms lose plain packaging appeal

Three tobacco companies have lost their appeal against the government's plain packaging rules for cigarettes packs.

The case, brought by British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco and Japan Tobacco International, comes after a challenge against the new rules was dismissed at the High Court in May.

The UK is the first country in Europe to require cigarettes to be sold in plain, standardised packaging,

The government has said it means a generation will "grow up smoke-free".

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of health charity ASH, said: "This is a victory for public health and another crushing defeat for the tobacco industry.

"This ruling should also encourage other countries to press ahead with standardised packaging, now that the industry's arguments have yet again been shown to be without foundation."

But Simon Clark, director of the smokers' group Forest, said the government was targeting the consumer as well as the tobacco industry with the new rules.

"Plain packs are unlikely to stop people smoking but the impact on consumer choice could be significant because some brands will almost certainly disappear from the market.

"Tobacco is a legal product. The law should not impose excessive regulations on consumers who know the health risks and don't need this type of finger-wagging measure."

HIV vaccine: Clinical trial begins in South Africa

New vaccine against HIV, the virus that causes Aids, is being tested in South Africa in what scientists say is the first large study of an HIV vaccine's effectiveness since 2009.

The study aims to enrol 5,400 sexually active young men and women.

About seven million people in South Africa are living with the virus, which is one reason why the trial is taking place there.

Experts hope the vaccine will be "the final nail in the coffin" for HIV.

The vaccine regime being tested is based on one used in a trial in Thailand in 2009, which had a protection rate of about 30%. Results from South Africa are expected in four years.

Since the HIV virus was identified in 1983, efforts to develop an effective vaccine have proved unsuccessful.

Researchers hope that this might come to an end with the current study, which is code-named HVTN 702.

It is being led by South Africa's Glenda Gray, a university research professor and head of South Africa's Medical Research Council.

"It will tell us whether the initial success observed [at a smaller scale] will bear fruit in the form of a safe and effective HIV vaccine designed for the people of southern Africa," Glenda Gray said.

According to the United Nations, more than 30 million people have died from Aids since the 1980s.

Recent breakthroughs in anti-retroviral treatments have improved the lifespan of Aids patients.

However, the only effective prevention remains abstinence or the use of barrier methods such as condoms during sexual intercourse.

As part of the present trial, study participants will receive a total of five injections over one year, says the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is sponsoring the trial.

Participants who become infected with HIV during the trial will be referred to local medical providers for care and treatment, NIH adds.

They will be advised on how to reduce their risk of transmitting the virus.

Sleep deprivation 'costs UK £40bn a year'

Sleep-deprived workers are costing the UK economy £40bn a year and face a higher risk of death, says a new study.

The calculation is based on tired employees being less productive or absent from work altogether.

Research firm Rand Europe, which used data from 62,000 people, said the loss equated to 1.86% of economic growth.

The main impact was on health, with those sleeping less than six hours a night 13% more likely to die earlier than those getting seven to nine hours.

The study evaluated the economic cost of insufficient sleep in the UK, US, Canada, Germany and Japan.

And while the impact of tired workers in the UK may sound bad, it still ranked better than both the US and Japan which lost the most working days due to lack of sleep.

The cost of sleep deprivation by country:

  • US loses 1.2 million working days a year, costing $411bn (£328bn) or 2.28% of GDP
  • Japan loses 600,000 working days a year, costing $138bn or 2.92% of GDP
  • UK loses 200,000 working days a year, costing £40bn, or 1.86% of GDP
  • Germany loses 200,000 working days a year, costing $60bn, or 1.56% of GDP
  • Canada loses 80,000 working days a year, costing $21.4bn or 1.35% of GDP
  • According to the study, the "healthy daily sleep range" is between seven and nine hours per night.

The report called on employers to recognise and promote the importance of sleep, urging them to build nap rooms.

It said they should also discourage staff from "extended use" of electronic devices after working hours.

Individuals were advised to wake up at the same time each day and exercise during the day to improve their sleep.

"The effects from a lack of sleep are massive. Sleep deprivation not only influences an individual's health and wellbeing but has a significant impact on a nation's economy," said Marco Hafner, a research leader at Rand Europe and the report's main author.

Mr Hafner said small changes could make a big difference, saying if those in the UK currently sleeping under six hours a night increased this to between six and seven hours it would add £24bn to the UK's economy.

What do you think? What are your views on the tobacco industry? Are you impressed with the trails? Are you sleeping too little to fuction well at work?

To see our full newsletter don't forget to subscribe to our mailing list by clicking on the link on our homepage

 

comments powered by Disqus

Features

This month's special feature is:

Orthodontics


Newsletter

Sign up to our newsletter


Twitter