ASH Daily News 31 January 2018



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UK

  • New NHS statistics show that 66,000 people have quit over the past six months
  • Vaping is not as bad for you as smoking, and it’s a public health disaster that people are being led to believe otherwise

International

  • Israel: Study suggests that cessation medication is not as effective in the absence of broader tobacco control policies
  • USA: Vape shops in five American states to sue FDA
  • USA: Indiana lawmakers press ahead with plans to increase smoking age to 21

 

UK

New NHS statistics show that 66,000 people have quit over the past six months

A new quarterly report released by NHS Digital has revealed that almost 66,000 people have successfully quit within six months.

The report shows that over 134,000 people had set a quit date with an NHS Stop Smoking Service during the six month period and that of those 66,000 who self-reported as having successfully quit, almost 3 in 4 had their results confirmed by carbon monoxide verification.

The report also revealed disparities in quit success between different locations and age groups.

Yorkshire and the Humber had the highest proportion of successful quitters, at 58%, whilst the South West had the lowest proportion at 42%. This disparity became even more apparent when broken down further; Slough had the highest proportion of successful quitters, at 85%, while Cumbria had the lowest proportion at 23%. Quitting success also varied between age groups, from 41% of those aged under 18 to 55% of those aged 60 and over.

Duncan Selbie, chief executive of PHE, commented: “A smokefree generation is now within sight. While those smoking is overall in decline, the numbers smoking in poorer communities are much higher. Only by everyone pulling together can we hope to end the loss of life and suffering smoking has wreaked.”

See also:
NHS Digital: Statistics on NHS Stop Smoking Services in England April 2017 to September 2017

Souce: Daily Mail, 30 January 2018
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Vaping is not as bad for you as smoking, and it’s a public health disaster that people are being led to believe otherwise

An opinion piece in the Telegraph has argued that vaping is far less harmful than smoking and a good cessation aid, citing evidence that has accumulated across public health bodies such as PHE and NICE.

It argued that exising public skepticism over the benefits of e-cigarettes is being further reinforced by misleading headlines and inaccurate reporting of studies.

A survey for the public health charity ASH found that in 2013, just 7% of the population believed e-cigarettes were as harmful as smoking. But now, that number has reached 26 per cent. Only 13% believe, correctly, that it is a lot less harmful. The situation has got so bad that CRUK is piloting a major public information campaign to remind people that “vaping is far less harmful than smoking”.

The author concludes that: “The rise of the e-cigarette has helped millions of people quit. When I mentioned on Twitter that I was writing about them I was deluged with anecdotes from people who’d stopped smoking by using them, and the evidence seems to back them up.”

Source: The Telegraph, 31 January 2018
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International

Israel: Study suggests that cessation medication is not as effective in the absence of broader tobacco control policies

A new Tel Aviv University study published in the journal Addiction has raised questions over the effectiveness of prescribed cessation medication such as varenicline and other common NRTs over the course of a year.

The study, which used a meta-analysis to combine the results of 61 randomized controlled trials involving some 28,000 participants who took the cessation drugs, found that 8% of smokers who received smoking cessation medications continued to benefit from the drugs after one year.

Dr. Leah Rosen, who led the reseach, commented that: “We don’t have a magic pill to get smokers to quit. Policymakers should to use all possible means to prevent young people from starting to smoke. Prevention of entry into the cycle of addiction is the best possible medicine.”

She also called for serious measures that have so far not been carried out by the Health and Finance Ministries, such as much higher taxes on cigarettes, equalizing taxes on cheaper handrolled tobacco to those on manufactured cigarettes, preventing the sale of tobacco-warming and vaping products, requiring the placing of graphic warnings on packages, and strict enforcement of no-smoking laws.

See also:
Addiction: Diminishing benefit of smoking cessation medications during the first year: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Source: The Jerusalem Post, 31 January 2018
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USA: Vape shops in five American states to sue FDA

A group of vape shops in five US states announced a trio of lawsuits yesterday that challenge a rule adopted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that allows them to treat e-cigarettes and similar devices like combustible cigarettes.

The vape shops argued that the 2016 rule was unconstitutional.

They argue that the ‘Deeming Rule’ that deems e-cigarettes to be tobacco products was not legally adopted because it was issued by a career FDA employee, rather than an officer appointed specifically by the president.

As a result of the rule, companies are now required to submit e-cigarettes and other newer tobacco products for government approval, list their ingredients and place health warnings on packages and in advertisements.

The lawsuits contend that the rule violates the Constitution’s free speech protections by requiring vape retailers to obtain the FDA’s approval before advertising information about their products’ health and related effects.

Source: Reuters, 30 January 2018
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USA: Indiana lawmakers press ahead with plans to increase smoking age to 21

Indiana lawmakers are considering increasing the legal age for purchasing and consuming tobacco products from 18 to 21 years old.

Legislation that would raise the purchase age has failed to muster support before now, but there was enough support for a fresh bill to pass a legislative committee this week.

The House Public Policy Committee voted unanimously to increase the cigarette purchasing age from 18 to 21 years old. If it becomes law, Indiana would be the sixth state to increase the smoking to 21.

Supporters argue that increasing the age to 21 will reduce smoking rates, which in turn, will cut health costs for the state.

Source: Fortune, 30 January 2018
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