ASH Daily News 13 December 2017



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UK

  • ‘Heat not burn’ products less harmful than smoking but still carry risks
  • British Lung Foundation report calls for more hospital beds to cope with winter breathing difficulties
  • Scotland: Senior midwife calls for all babies to be born free from the effects of tobacco

International

  • USA: How Smokefree Campuses Went Global

Parliamentary Activity

  • Parliamentary Questions

 

UK

‘Heat not burn’ products less harmful than smoking but still carry risks

The independent Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) has looked into evidence on the ‘heat not burn’ tobacco products currently available in the UK.

Professor Alan Boobis, chair of the COT, said there is likely to be a risk to health with ‘heat not burn’ products, although it would be a reduced risk, but the safest thing is to quit altogether. Although such products are being marketed as a safer option by tobacco companies, these products still contain chemicals that are harmful to health and the COT has urged consumers not to assume that they are safe.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH, said: “The COT review is welcome as an independent assessment of tobacco industry evidence on ‘heat not burn’ products. COT concluded that while ‘heat not burn’ products are lower risk than smoking they are not risk-free, so quitting tobacco use completely is still the healthiest option.”

Source: The Guardian, 13 December 2017
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British Lung Foundation report calls for more hospital beds to cope with winter breathing difficulties

‘Out in the cold’, a new report from the British Lung Foundation, has said that hospitals need to provide more beds to deal with the rising numbers of adults and children who struggle to breathe in the winter months.

The report says that the increase in breathing problems caused by air pollution, an ageing population and the long-term effects of heavy smoking has added pressure to already struggling A&Es.

Analysis of Hospital Episode Statistics in the report shows that over the last seven years, lung disease admissions to hospital have risen at over three times the rate of all other conditions. This analysis also shows that respiratory disease admissions are almost unique in their seasonal variation, with there being 80% more lung disease admissions in the winter months than during the warmer spring months.

Dr Penny Woods, the chief executive of the foundation, added: “Taking a more seasonal approach to supporting people with lung disease will reduce needless attendances and admissions and ultimately improve patient care and outcomes.”

Source: The Guardian, 11 December 2017
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Scotland: Senior midwife calls for all babies to be born free from the effects of tobacco

Mary Ross-Davie, director of the Royal College of Midwives in Scotland, has signed up to be a champion of Scotland’s Charter for a Tobacco-Free Generation, produced by campaign group ASH Scotland.

Ms. Ross-Davie said: “Scotland has made fantastic progress in protecting children from second-hand smoke over the last five years. The charter gives everyone who works with children and families a helpful guide to making the dream of a tobacco-free generation a reality.”

Scottish Government statistics show that the number of expectant mothers who identified as smokers when making their first appointment with midwives has fallen to 14.8%, a figure down 1.3% on the previous year and half the rate recorded in 1998.

Source: Dundee Evening Telegraph, 13 December 2017
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International

USA: How Smokefree Campuses Went Global

The number of smokefree campuses across the globe are increasing, with the USA and Australia leading the race, but most of Europe is lagging behind.

According to research carried out by the American Nonsmokers Rights Foundation, 2,064 US campuses have declared themselves 100 per cent smoke free as of October 2017. Although some have done so in order to comply with state law, many others have chosen to do so as a result of changing norms on campus.

For many universities, smokefree zones are a step on the way to achieving smokefree campuses. When implemented correctly, well monitored and signposted, they can significantly reduce the amount of smoke in an area.

Source: The University Times, 12 December 2017
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Parliamentary Activity

Parliamentary Questions

PQ1: Smoking on Television
Lord Storey, Liberal Democrats Lords Spokesperson (Education)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their policy in relation to smoking on reality TV shows, particularly in regard to the risk that smoking amongst young people might be glamourised.

Lord Ashton of Hyde, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Broadcasting regulation is a matter for Ofcom, the independent regulator. Ofcom takes the protection of children and young people very seriously – and that is why there are already specific restrictions on the portrayal of smoking on television. The government does not interfere in editorial decisions and it is for content makers to decide what to include in their programmes, provided that they comply with the Broadcasting Code.

Source: Hansard, HL Debate, 12 December 2017

PQ2: WHO Convention Framework on Tobacco Control
Martyn Day, SNP (Linlithgow and East Falkirk)
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, when the Government plans to introduce legislative proposals to ratify the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Illicit Trade Protocol.

Andrew Jones, The Exchequer Secretary
A Command Paper setting out the UK’s plans to ratify the World Health Organisation Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products will be laid before Parliament once legislation to implement the Protocol has been approved by Parliament.

While the UK already has many of the Protocol’s requirements in place, the requirement to license tobacco manufacturing machinery has not yet been implemented. Legislation to accomplish this was included in Autumn Finance Bill, which received Royal Assent on 16 November 2017. A technical consultation on draft regulations required to implement the licensing scheme closed on 5 December. Final regulations are being prepared and are expected to be laid before Parliament in the New Year.

Source: Hansard, HC Debate, 12 December 2017