ASH Daily News 31 May 2017

  • World No Tobacco Day
  • Tobacco companies leave huge ecological footprint – WHO
  • West Midlands: Smoking in pregnancy rates highlighted
  • China: Business leaders help to take on tobacco
  • New Zealand to have world’s first smokefree military by 2020
  • Ireland: Fewer Irish children are smoking


World No Tobacco Day

Wednesday 31st May is World No Tobacco Day (WNTD), a day set aside by the World Health Organisation as a tribute to the six million people killed each year by tobacco and a call to action to governments to halt this deadly epidemic.

This year the theme of World No Tobacco Day is ‘Tobacco – a threat to development’, a threat the UK government has acknowledged by providing £15 million over the next five years to help poorer countries implement the comprehensive tobacco control policies set out in the international tobacco treaty, the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

The UK has also taken a leadership role in implementing the WHO FCTC domestically, and will celebrate a decade of smokefree legislation in England on 1st July. This has been matched by significant declines in smoking prevalence in recent years, with smoking amongst adults and children in England now the lowest in recorded history, at 16.9% for adults and only 3% for 11-15 year olds. However, despite this smoking remains the leading cause of preventable premature death killing 78,000 people a year in England, and is also the major cause of health inequalities, responsible for half the difference in life expectancy between the richest and poorest in society.

See also:
ASH: Deborah Arnott’s reflections on World No Tobacco Day

Source: ASH, 26th May 2017
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Tobacco companies leave huge ecological footprint – WHO

Tobacco growing causes ‘massive harm’ to the environment through extensive use of chemicals, energy and water, and pollution from manufacturing and distribution, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.

The United Nations agency called for the tobacco industry to compensate for its products that contribute to greenhouse gases blamed for climate change.

The ecological footprint goes far beyond the effects of cigarette smoke, the WHO said in its first report on tobacco’s impact on the environment. ‘From start to finish, the tobacco life cycle is an overwhelmingly polluting and damaging process. Tobacco plants require large quantities of insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and fumigants to control pest or disease outbreaks. Vast quantities of wood are burned to cure tobacco leaves, contributing to deforestation. Some big growers like China and Zimbabwe are also using coal, which emits carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas blamed for global warming.’

Source: Reuters, 30th May 2017
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West Midlands: Smoking in pregnancy rates highlighted

NHS figures show that Walsall Healthcare saw a rate of one woman smoking out of every six who used the antenatal services. Smoking during pregnancy, or living with someone who smokes, can affect the baby both before and after birth.

Professor Linda Bauld, of the Smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group, said: ‘We must invest in a full range of measures or smoking in pregnancy rates will start to rise. This cannot be done in a piecemeal way – we must ensure that fewer women are smoking when they become pregnant, more women are encouraged to quit quickly and greater support is offered to those who need it.’

Source: Birmingham Mail, 30th May 2017
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China: Business leaders help to take on tobacco

In response to predictions that smoking could claim 200 million lives in China this century, China’s businesses are leading the way on tobacco control, with a movement of corporate leaders who have committed to smokefree workplaces.

Currently, Baidu Inc., one of the largest Internet companies in the world, joins the WHO in encouraging China’s corporate community to offer employees 100 percent smoke-free workplaces. Baidu committed to smokefree office environments in 2011 and since that time all of Baidu’s 17 offices, labs and research centres located in China and around the world are 100 percent smokefree workplaces. This commitment protects 40,000 employees and countless visitors to these offices from exposure to harmful secondhand smoke.

The dominant shared car service, Didi, announced that its sedan service is going entirely smokefree, ensuring both drivers and passengers are free from the toxic dangers of secondhand smoke. Similarly, in Hangzhou, the Zhejiang Chamber of Commerce publicly called on all its member companies to adopt and enforce 100% smokefree workplaces, conduct smokefree education for their employees, and to support municipal and provincial efforts to ban smoking in all public indoor spaces.

Source: China Daily, 30th May 2017
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New Zealand to have world’s first smokefree military by 2020

New Zealand has kicked off World No Tobacco Day by announcing a plan for its defence force to become the world’s first smoke-free military by 2020.

Initiatives to achieve the goal include banning the sale of cigarettes on camps and bases and making NZ defence force housing smokefree. It will also evolve camps and bases into smokefree environments, and continue to promote and support smoking cessation and the benefits of a smokefree NZ defence force.

Source: BMJ, 31st May 2017
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Ireland: Fewer Irish children are smoking

A report has found statistically significant changes in the health of Irish schoolchildren between 1998 and 2014, with many positive trends, including that smoking rates are lower than twenty years ago.

The study showed that the number of children smoking fell from 22.6% in 1998 to 8.3% in 2014, while the number who reported having smoked their first cigarette before the age of 13 fell from 61% to 35%.

‘Ireland has performed much better than most other parts of Europe in reducing the number of children who smoke,’ Professor Nic Gabhainn, the lead author of the report, said. She attributed this to several factors including the price of tobacco products and the smoking ban.

Source: The Times, 31st May 2017
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