ASH Daily News 15 September 2017



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UK

  • New cigarette rules have led to slump in sales, says Londis owner

International

  • Tobacco and poor diets among key causes of worldwide death, finds study
  • China’s Twitter-like service stubs out its ‘cool’ smoking emoji
  • USA: Study finds third-hand smoke in furniture and clothes damages mouse organs
  • Australia: Coroner says Varenicline may have had role in death

Parliamentary Activity

  • Parliamentary Questions

Link of the Week

  • Global Burden of Disease study

UK
New cigarette rules have led to slump in sales, says Londis owner

Tobacco sales have dropped following the introduction of new rules on standardised packaging with health warnings, according to the group behind convenience store chains Londis and Budgens.

Booker, a cash-and-carry group, say that tobacco sales fell nearly 10% in its second quarter. Nevertheless, overall sales grew in the same period by 1.1%.

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of Action on Smoking and Health, said, “It’s excellent news that this large wholesaler is reporting such a substantial fall in tobacco sales. While it will be many years before we see the full impact of plain packaging policy today’s results show that removing glitzy visual tobacco branding and focusing on the disastrous health impacts of smoking has been an important public health measure.”

Source: The Guardian, 14 September 2017

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International
Tobacco and poor diets among key causes of worldwide death, finds study

Heart disease and tobacco were among the world’s biggest killers last year, according to the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study, published in The Lancet medical journal.

The study was led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, and involved over 2,500 researchers in around 130 countries. It found tobacco was the highest risk factor for early death; poor diet was found to be a factor in one in five deaths around the world.

Source: The Guardian, 14 September 2017

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China’s Twitter-like service stubs out its ‘cool’ smoking emoji

Sina Weibo, the Chinese micro-blogging site roughly equivalent to Twitter, has altered its “cool” emoji, by removing the cigarette that was previously included.

The move came after users criticised the emoji for glamourising smoking.

According to the World Health Organization, there are approximately 1 million deaths related to tobacco in China every year.

Source: South China Morning Post, 14 September 2017

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USA: Study finds third-hand smoke in furniture and clothes damages mouse organs

A study led by researchers from the University of California has found that exposure to “third-hand smoke” (residual cigarette smoke left in materials such as clothing) may increase the risk of diabetes and liver damage in mice.

The research team exposed upholstery and carpets to a level of smoke similar to that found in smokers’ homes. Caged mice were then exposed to these fabrics for up to half a year.

After one month of exposure, the mice had a 50% increase in inflammatory molecules in their blood and liver compared with control levels. After two months, increased cell damage in the liver and brain was found. Other effects found by the end of the test included increased cortisol levels and fasting blood glucose.

See also
Clinical Science: Biomarkers of disease can be detected in mice as early as 4 weeks after initiation of exposure to third-hand smoke levels equivalent to those found in homes of smokers

Source: New Scientist, 15 September 2017

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Australia: Coroner says Varenicline may have had role in death

A coroner has found that a smoking cessation drug manufactured by Pfizer contributed to the death of a man who died by suicide soon after starting to use the medicine.

The coroner said that he was unable to determine the level of contribution that Varenicline had on the man’s death due to his pre-existing mental health condition. Additionally, the coroner found that aspects of instructions provided with Varenicline were “inadequate”.

Source: The Guardian, 15 September 2017

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Parliamentary Activity
Parliamentary Questions

PQ1: Tobacco Companies
Martyn Day Scottish National Party, Linlithgow and East Falkirk
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if he will publish details of all communications between his Department and the tobacco industry on the Tobacco Control Plan; and what steps he has taken to encourage tobacco companies to engage with the Government in written, as well as oral, form.

Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health
The United Kingdom is a signatory to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). Article 5.3 of the FCTC states that “in setting and implementing their public health policies with respect to tobacco control, Parties shall act to protect these policies from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry in accordance with national law.” The Department has therefore not invited the tobacco industry to contribute to the development of the Tobacco Control Plan. The Government will continue to uphold its obligations under the World Health Organization FCTC.

Source: HC Deb, 14 September 2017, cW
Link

PQ2: Chewing Tobacco
Mark Hendrick, Labour/Co-operative, Preston
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, with reference to the publication of Towards a smoke-free generation: a tobacco control plan for England in July 2017 by his Department, if he will (a) create a strategy to reduce the consumption of and (b) publish a report on the consumption of chewing tobacco primarily by South Asian women.

Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health
Towards a smoke free generation: a tobacco control plan for England, sets out national ambitions to further reduce use of all tobacco products across the population in England. We have no plans to produce either a separate strategy to address, or a report on, the consumption of chewing tobacco by South Asian women

Source: HC Deb, 14 September 2017, cW

Link

Link of the Week
Global Burden of Disease study

Findings and analysis from the Global Burden of Disease study have been published in medical journal The Lancet.

This study is the most comprehensive worldwide observational epidemiological study to date, describing mortality and morbidity from major diseases, injuries and risk factors to health at global, national, and regional levels.

The articles published examine trends from 1990 to the present days, and make comparisons across populations, seeking to understand the key health challenges faced by the world in the 21st century.

Source: The Lancet, 15 September 2017

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ASH Daily News comprises digests of published news on smoking-related topics. ASH is not responsible for the content of external websites. ASH does not necessarily endorse the material contained in this bulletin.