ASH Daily News 12 September 2017



International

  • One in four EU workers exposed to secondhand smoke at work
  • Australia: Mice study finds vaping during pregnancy could increase risks
  • Ireland: Rise in number of pregnant women smoking heavily, finds study
  • USA: Epigenetic changes from cigarette smoke may be first step in lung cancer development

Parliamentary Activity

  • Parliamentary Questions

 

International
One in four EU workers exposed to secondhand smoke at work

More than one in four people who work indoors are being exposed to secondhand smoke at work, according to new research.

The research looked at all 28 countries currently in the European Union, the majority of which have introduced smokefree legislation to protect workers from secondhand smoke.

Although the study found a reduction in the number of people exposed to secondhand smoke in restaurants and bars, it also revealed that the number of people exposed in indoor workplaces such as offices, shops, and factories, has increased from 2009.

Source: Imperial College London, 11 September 2017
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Australia: Mice study finds vaping during pregnancy could increase risks

A study on mice has suggested that vaping during pregnancy may increase the offspring’s risk of asthma. Tests showed offspring of female mice who had been exposed to e-cigarette vapour suffered lung problems.

Professor John Britton, Director of the UK Centre for Tobacco & Alcohol Studies at the University of Nottingham, said: “Nobody argues that vaping is safe. It is obviously better not to vape than to vape, but definitely better to vape than to smoke.”

Editorial Note: Professor Britton’s full quote, along with expert comments from Professor Linda Bauld and Dr James Doidge can be found online at the Science Media Centre.

Source: Mail Online, 12 September 2017
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Ireland: Rise in number of pregnant women smoking heavily, finds study

The risk of babies being born earlier or at a lower birth weight has not fallen in one of the country’s main maternity hospitals because so many pregnant women are continuing to smoke heavily, a new study reveals.

A study of births at the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital in Dublin between 2009 and 2013 showed rates of moderate to heavy smokers went up from 3.9% to 6.9%.This trend emerged as the overall smoking rates among the expectant mothers fell from 16.6% to 12.6%, the research revealed.

The researchers found that while smoking rates in pregnancy decreased overall, the increase in the percentage of women reporting moderate to heavy smoking meant the “risk of preterm delivery and lower birth weight has not been reduced”.

Editorial Note: All smoking in pregnancy poses a risk and while heavier smokers have a higher risk of poor birth outcomes cutting down may not reduce that risk due to compensatory smoking. The only safe option for a pregnant woman is to quit completely.

Source: The Independent Ireland, 10 September 2017
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USA: Epigenetic changes from cigarette smoke may be first step in lung cancer development

Scientists at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center say they have preliminary evidence in laboratory-grown, human airway cells that a condensed form of cigarette smoke triggers so-called “epigenetic” changes in the cells consistent with the earliest steps toward lung cancer development.

Epigenetic processes are essentially switches that control a gene’s potentially heritable levels of protein production but without involving changes to underlying structure of a gene’s DNA. Scientists have known some of the genetic culprits that drive lung cancer growth.

See also
Cancer Cell: Chronic Cigarette Smoke-Induced Epigenomic Changes Precede Sensitization of Bronchial Epithelial Cells to Single-Step Transformation by KRAS Mutations.

Source: Medical Xpress, 11 September 2017
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Parliamentary Activity
Parliamentary Questions

PQ1: Funding for the Tobacco Control Plan
Sharon Hodgson Shadow Minister (Public Health)
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how much funding he has allowed for the delivery of the Tobacco Control Plan for England.

Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health
Councils will receive £16 billion of public health funding over the Spending Review period to deliver local health priorities tailored to the needs of their populations. Tobacco control is within this remit.

Source: HC Deb, 11 September 2017, cW
Link: https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2017-07-20.6483.h&s=tobacco#g6483.q0

PQ2: Smokefreee NHS premises
Richard Graham Conservative, Gloucester
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, whether his Department plans to extend the smoking ban to include NHS hospital premises.

Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health
The Department supports the implementation of smokefree policies across all hospitals in England. The Government published the Tobacco Control Plan on 18 July 2017, which outlines the ambition of achieving a smoke free National Health Service estate by 2020.

Source: HC Deb, 11 September 2017, cW
Link: https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2017-09-04.8145.h&s=smoking

PQ3: International Smoking Cessation
Philip Davies Conservative, Shipley
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if he will place in the Library a copy of the first year evaluation report of the smoking cessation projects overseas which are managed by his Department.

Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health
The FCTC Secretariat is required to produce a full evaluation report at the end of the five year life span of the project. The Department has published the following business case for the project. This is available at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/tobacco-control-measures-overseas

Source: HC Deb, 11 September 2017, cW
Link: https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2017-07-19.6291.h&s=tobacco#g6291.r0