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NEWS IN BRIEF: E-cigarettes; Drink Spiking; Antibiotics Tax; Cancer Plea; Smoking

16 May 2016

E-cigarette fears “are costing lives”

A growing number of people fear that e-cigarettes are more dangerous than smoking, The Times reports.

A quarter of people believe that e-cigarettes are more harmful than tobacco, three times as many as in 2013, according to a survey by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH).

The group believes that thousands of deaths could be caused by smokers’ reluctance to switch.

Pharmacist who allegedly ‘spiked his colleague’s drink for months’ as they worked together ‘was infatuated with her’

A pharmacist allegedly drugged a 26-year-old female over a number of months by spiking her drink as they worked together in a pharmacy on a university campus, the Daily Mail reports.

Yan Chi ‘Anthony’ Cheung was arrested at his Maroubra home in Sydney’s east on Thursday, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Officers arrested the man after obtaining CCTV footage from the pharmacy on the University of New South Wales’ Kensington campus that appeared to show the 33-year-old pouring a liquid into his colleague’s drink.

He was charged with using poison to injure or cause distress or pain, and tampering with evidence.

Call for tax on antibiotics to stop overuse

A tax on antibiotics may be needed to prevent their overuse and risk to human health, according to the chairman of the government review on resistance to the drugs, The Times reports.

Cash raised from imposing a levy on antibiotics, whether for human or animal use, could pay for research into antibiotic resistance, said Lord O’Neill of Gatley, a junior treasury minister.

He warned that the danger to human health from resistance to antibiotics was “a much more troubling train wreck” than the 2008 financial crisis.

Cancer charities in desperate plea to Cameron over drugs rationing plan

Leading cancer experts have pleaded with the Prime Minister to prevent NHS plans which they say could deny life-extending drugs to thousands of dying patients, The Telegraph reports.

Fifteen major charities have written to David Cameron, expressing “deep concern” and imploring him to order a review of changes to drugs rationing, which they say will set the country back almost two decades.

Under the plans, due to be introduced in July, only drugs authorised by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (Nice) will receive NHS funding.

Until now, a separate Cancer Drugs Fund – launched following a Tory 2010 manifesto pledge – has ensured treatment for thousands more patients whose treatments were rejected by Nice.

New law banning 10-packs of cigarettes and making packaging bland come in next week

The laws on cigarette packaging are set to change by the end of the month, with 10-packs banned and boxes designed to be ‘drab’ and covered in health warnings, the Independent reports.

New regulations, which come into effect from 20 May, will see packaging ‘standardised’ so they have the same colour, opening mechanism and font, and with 60 per cent of the casing covered by text and images showing how smoking affects your health.

Tobacco companies have one year from 20 May to get rid of old stock and roll out new packs, following a decision in Parliament on 15 May last year on the EU Tobacco Products Directive that also saw MPs vote in favour of banning menthol and flavoured tobacco, which will come into effect from 2020.

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