ASH Daily News 14 February 2018



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UK

  • Scotland: Hospital restricts garden access to promote no smoking policy

International

  • Study explores genetic overlap between nicotine addiction and schizophrenia
  • India threatens actor Pierce Brosnan with fine or jail over chewing tobacco adverts
  • Netherlands: Court rules to abolish smoking areas in cafes and bars
  • Australia: Senator attacks government’s stance on vaping
  • Australia: Researcher urges caution on third-hand smoke claims

 

UK

Scotland: Hospital restricts garden access to promote no smoking policy

NHS Tayside has temporarily restricted access to the fresh air garden at Ninewells Hospital to promote its no smoking policy, claiming that it regularly receives complaints from patients, visitors and staff about smokers on hospital grounds.

To discourage smoking on the site, the garden has been cordoned off for four weeks. NHS Tayside’s smoking policy allows the use of e-cigarettes in hospital grounds but they are prohibited in buildings and enclosed spaces.

Andrew Radley, public health consultant for NHS Tayside, said: “Since the temporary cordon was installed, we have already received positive feedback from patients and staff about the smoke-free environment they now experience coming in to the hospital. We hope that this temporary closure will help make people more aware of our No Smoking Policy and how they can support it”.

Source: BBC News, 13 February 2018
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International

Study explores genetic overlap between nicotine addiction and schizophrenia

A new study has suggested that there are a dozen genetic pathways that may contribute to both schizophrenia risk and nicotine addiction susceptibility.

Researchers from Tianjin Medical University and the University of South Florida (USF) used pathway and network analyses on genes implicated in schizophrenia and nicotine addiction in existing studies.

They found that of the 276 genes associated with nicotine addiction and 331 genes associated with schizophrenia, 52 genes were shared, and that of these 52, there were 12 that had a particularly strong association.

This meant that these genes in particular would be valuable in the future study of nicotine addiction and schizophrenia, especially given that the prevalence of tobacco use in people with schizophrenia is much higher than in the general population.

The researchers claimed that their results: “illustrated that the biological processes underlying the co-morbidity of nicotine addiction and schizophrenia was complex, and was likely induced by the dysfunction of multiple molecules and pathways”.

See also:
Scientific Reports: Analyzing the genes related to nicotine addiction or schizophrenia via a pathway and network based approach

Source: GenomeWeb, 13 February 2018
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India threatens actor Pierce Brosnan with fine or jail over chewing tobacco adverts

Delhi health officials have threatened to fine or jail the actor Pierce Brosnan if he fails to explain why he appeared in adverts for a chewing mixture that sometimes includes tobacco.

In 2016, Brosnan appeared in TV and newspaper adverts for a brand of pan masala, a popular Indian chewing mixture that can contain tobacco. The specific variety Brosnan was endorsing did not contain tobacco, but some of the company’s products include supari, a kind of nut considered by the World Health Organisation to be carcinogenic.

The campaign was suspended after causing an uproar. Brosnan said he was “deeply shocked and saddened” that his image had been used to promote a potentially harmful product and claimed he was under the impression that he was advertising a breath freshener and tooth whitener.

He claimed that the company had “grossly manipulated” the adverts to imply support for their entire range, and went on to state: “Having endured, in my own personal life, the loss of my first wife and daughter as well as numerous friends to cancer, I am fully committed to supporting women’s healthcare and research programmes that improve human health and alleviate suffering”.

On Monday the Delhi health department issued a show-cause notice to the actor demanding he explain his appearance in the commercials, which it claims were a form of “surrogate advertisement” intended to evade a ban on promoting tobacco.

If Brosnan fails to respond to the notice within 10 days, he could be liable for a fine of 5,000 rupees (£56) or face two years in jail, although it is unclear how this would be enforced.

Source: The Guardian, 14 February 2018
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Netherlands: Court rules to abolish smoking areas in cafes and bars

A court has upheld a legal challenge by Clean Air Netherlands (CAN) and banned areas reserved for smokers in cafes and bars.

Despite a ban on smoking in restaurants, pubs and bars being introduced in 2008, over 25% of small cafes in the Netherlands still have enclosed areas where patrons could legally smoke, under an exception to the legislation.

But the court in The Hague found that such spaces were “in conflict” with the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which the Netherlands is a signatory to.

The court ruled that the exception to the legislation was “invalid”, since the 2008 ban also covered smoking rooms.

Source: Medical Xpress, 13 February 2018
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Australia: Senator attacks government’s stance on vaping

An Australian crossbench senator, Cory Bernardi, has attacked the government’s stance on vaping, calling it illogical and inconsistent with emerging evidence.

The senator claimed that the government’s prohibition on buying e-cigarettes without a prescription is in conflict with current health evidence.

In protest, he drove a van plastered with pro-vaping messages and packed with volunteers, dubbed ‘Vape Force One’, around the grounds of Parliament House in Canberra.

Senator Bernardi said that his stunt was a move to break the cycle of nicotine addiction, stating: “Vaping is a much safer way for people to satisfy their nicotine addiction and cravings… This is a way to do it that does less damage to an individual’s health”.

Source: The West Australian, 13 February 2018
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Australia: Researcher urges caution on third-hand smoke claims

An Australian National University (ANU) researcher is warning against undue alarm over third-hand smoke.

Professor Simone Dennis, an anthropologist who has studied the lives of smokers for 15 years, has urged policy makers to wait for appropriate scientific evidence before passing any laws relating to third-hand-smoke.

Professor Dennis said: “Third-hand-smoke is where you have cigarette residue on clothes, skin, or other surfaces such as in a car or house. It can’t be removed by washing or airing out, and no-one knows how long it stays for as the science is really new. However, the fact that the science is not proven has not stopped people from making alarmist claims about the dangers to people’s health”.

Source: Medical Xpress, 13 February 2018
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