ASH Daily News 18 August 2017



UK

  • Study shows teenagers who vape may also smoke
  • Study links smoking to frailty in older adults
  • LGA responds to Stop Smoking statistics
  • Brighton: New method to help reduce cigarette litter

International

  • How British American Tobacco exploited war zones to sell cigarettes
  • Japan: Major firms’ insurance unions to team up to tackle smoking among members

Link of the Week

  • ASH: Smoking and Cancer Factsheet

 

UK

Study shows teenagers who vape may also smoke

In a recent UK study, researchers found that teenagers who vaped when they were 13 or 14 were about four times more likely to have tried a tobacco cigarette a year later than those who had not.

However, Professor Linda Bauld, from Stirling University, said: “This study does not provide evidence that using e-cigarettes causes young people to become smokers. It simply shows that some teenagers who try an e-cigarette might go on to try tobacco, and on both occasions it could be just once. If e-cigarettes were causing smoking, then the steady decline in youth smoking we’ve seen in national surveys in recent years would be reversed. But it’s not – smoking amongst young people in the UK is at an all-time low.

See also
Tobacco Control: Do electronic cigarettes increase cigarette smoking in UK adolescents? Evidence from a 12-month prospective study
Science and Media Centre: Expert reaction to study of adolescents, e-cigarettes and smoking

Source: The Independent, 18 August 2017
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Study links smoking to frailty in older adults

Researchers have found an association between current smoking habits in older adults and an increased risk of developing frailty as they age.

Researchers defined frailty for the study by using a combination of five physical frailty components such as unintentional weight loss, weakness, self-reported exhaustion, slow walking speed and low physical activity.

The researchers found current smoking was linked to a 60% increased risk of developing frailty. “Current smokers compared with non-smokers were significantly more likely to develop frailty over 4 years among British community-dwelling older people,” researchers wrote in the study. “This result is in line with findings of a recent systematic review. Given that smoking is a modifiable lifestyle factor, smoking cessation may potentially prevent or delay developing frailty, even in old age.”

See also
Age and Ageing: Does current smoking predict future frailty?
Action on Smoking and Health: Cost of smoking to social care

Source: UPI, 17 August 2017
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LGA responds to Stop Smoking statistics

The LGA have responded to NHS Digital statistics on NHS Stop Smoking Services in England from April 2016 to March 2017, which show the number of people accessing the services fell by 15% in the last year.

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing, said: “Councils, which are responsible for public health, run a range of innovative programmes to help people quit smoking and have taken great strides in helping people to stub out tobacco for good. Despite this, smoking is still the leading cause of preventable death, responsible for nearly 79,000 deaths a year. On top of that there are 1.7 million hospital admissions each year that can be attributed to conditions caused by smoking.

“With one in five still smoking, clearly there is a lot more to be done. Since the advent of e-cigarettes, we have seen the number of users of smoking cessation services fall, while the population of smokers left is now more challenging to get to quit. This means councils are re-evaluating what they do on tobacco control and how to be more effective, for example, reaching out to smokers with the greatest need such as routine and manual workers, pregnant smokers and those with mental illness.

See also
Action on Smoking and Health: New Government data shows valuable Stop Smoking Services continue to decline

Source: Local Gov News, 17 August 2017
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Brighton: New method to help reduce cigarette litter

Smokers are being encouraged to ‘vote’ with their cigarette butt, in an effort to reduce litter. Adur and Worthing Councils have introduced a ‘ballot-bin’ into which smokers can put their cigarette butts, voting on different questions.

The first question being asked is whether Brighton and Hove Albion will manage to avoid relegation in their first season in the Premier League.

Councillor Diane Guest, Worthing’s Executive Member for Environment, welcomed the ballot bin initiative. She said: “This is a fun way of getting across a serious point. Cigarette ends are the most littered items and blight our town centres.”

Source: The Argus, 18 August 2017
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International

How British American Tobacco exploited war zones to sell cigarettes

British American Tobacco (BAT) has promoted sales of its cigarettes in some of the most fragile, war-torn and unstable countries of Africa and the Middle East, documents seen by the Guardian show.

While civilians were being killed and cities ravaged by violence, BAT pursued opportunities to grow its markets. The documents describe how cartons of cigarettes were distributed to traders hidden in black bags in Somalia after Al-Shabaab banned sales and threatened punishments under Sharia law between late 2008 and early 2009.

They also show that BAT made plans to launch in South Sudan just two days before it gained independence from the north after years of destruction from a civil war that left 4 million people displaced. And they tell of a town in eastern DRC that is not on any map, created by BAT to produce and process tobacco leaf, where, according to a whistleblower, millions of dollars were delivered to pay farmers and staff, carried in secretly.

The Serious Fraud Office said earlier this month that it was investigating his allegations.

Source: The Guardian, 18 August 2017
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Japan: Major firms’ insurance unions to team up to tackle smoking among members

Corporate health insurance unions of 18 major companies in Japan are setting up a consortium with over 580,000 total members to offer remote outpatient treatment to help people quit smoking.

The move comes as the unions, faced with financial difficulties, need to reduce high smoking-related medical costs. The group aims to cut the smoking rate by 5% by 2020, reducing the number of smokers among those insured by company health coverage schemes by some 30,000.

Source: Mainichi, 18 August 2017
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Link of the Week

ASH: Smoking and Cancer Factsheet

We have updated our Smoking and Cancer Factsheet, which is now available online. The factsheet summarises the latest research on the links between smoking and cancer. Feel free to download and use these statistics wherever they can be of use.

Source: Action on Smoking and Health, 1 August 2017
Download Factsheet