ASH Daily News 5 June 2017



  • WHO annual assembly sees focus on non-communicable diseases
  • Scientists find smoking in pregnancy can cause child to suffer behaviour problems into adolescence
  • BAT produces data on heated tobacco products
  • Australia: Continued progress on youth smoking rates
  • Zimbabwe: Forests under threat from tobacco farmers
  • Russian sports events to be tobacco-free
  • Netherlands: University medical centres’ pension fund under pressure over €1.5bn tobacco investments

 

WHO annual assembly sees focus on non-communicable diseases

WHO’s annual assembly closed last week. There was a rising concern about non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which are becoming a growing burden on governments in poorer as well as richer countries.

There was also a focus on resources. The WHO’s proposed 2018-19 budget, at $4.4bn, is up 3% on the previous year. The organisation still allocates more than twice as much for communicable as non-communicable diseases although such divisions are becoming increasingly arbitrary.

Source: Financial Times, 2 June 2017
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Scientists find smoking in pregnancy can cause child to suffer behaviour problems into adolescence

Smoking 10 cigarettes a day when pregnant is enough to harm the child into their teenage years, researchers have found.

12% of mums in the UK admit to smoking while they’re expecting. 54% say they were smokers but quit before or during pregnancy, according to leading charity ASH.

Dr Ruth Rose-Jacobs, from Boston Medical Center and Boston University, said: ‘Given that as few as ten cigarettes can have a negative impact, it’s imperative that we act on this and provide as much access and education as we can to help prevent these negative outcomes.’

See also: Drug and Alcohol Dependence: Intrauterine exposure to tobacco and executive functioning in high school

Source: Scottish Sun, 5 June 2017
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BAT produces data on heated tobacco products

British American Tobacco (BAT) has produced test data that suggests vapour from a novel hybrid heated tobacco product iFuse and two standard products produced little or no effect on human cells in biological testing.

‘Our results suggest that these standard products and our novel hybrid product have the potential to reduce smoking-related disease risks when compared with cigarette smoking,’ says Dr James Murphy, Head of Reduced Risk Substantiation at British American Tobacco. ‘However, further pre-clinical and clinical research is required to substantiate conclusive risk reduction of these products.’

Source: Scienmag, 5 June 2017
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Australia: Continued progress on youth smoking rates

On the 1st June, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare released data from its 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey, which it has conducted every three years since 1985.

The proportion of teenagers (aged 12-17) who have never smoked more than 100 cigarettes significantly increased between 2013 and 2016, from 95% to 98%. Younger people also continued to delay when they smoked their first full cigarette. This increased in the 14 to 24-year-olds from 14.2 years in 1995 to 16.3 in 2016 (a statistically significant increase from 15.9 years in 2013). Australia’s plain packaging legislation, implemented in December 2012, was aimed at reducing teenage Australians taking up smoking.

After plain packaging was introduced, there was an industry-wide decision to cut prices to compete with lower priced brands for market share. Tobacco companies have also aggressively pushed cheaper roll-your-own tobacco by introducing loose tobacco with cigarette brand names. The use of roll-your-own cigarettes has gone from 26% of smokers in 2007, to 33% in 2013 and to 36% in 2016. However, the tax on roll-your-own tobacco will rise from September 2017.

Source: Medical Xpress, 2 June 2017
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Zimbabwe: Forests under threat from tobacco farmers

With more than 98 000 registered tobacco farmers, up from just 600 in 2000, Zimbabwe’s forests are under threat.

According to the Forestry Commission, every year the southern African nation is losing more than 300,000 hectares of forests to deforestation. At least 15%of the destruction is attributable to tobacco farmers.

Previously, tobacco farmers would mainly cure their crop using coal, but wood has become the cheapest and readily available fuel for the army of farmers who have migrated to tobacco.

Source: All Africa, 1 June 2017
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Russian sports events to be tobacco-free

This year’s FIFA Confederations Cup and next year’s FIFA World Cup will be tobacco-free events. FIFA and the Local Organising Committee (LOC) confirmed this on Wednesday 31 May, as World No Tobacco Day is celebrated across the world in conjunction with the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Federico Addiechi, FIFA’s Head of Sustainability & Diversity, said: ‘FIFA´s Tobacco-Free Policy for FIFA Tournaments ensures that those who choose to, may only use tobacco products in designated areas, to ensure that it does not harm others. The policy protects the right of the majority of the population, who are non-smokers, to breathe clean air that is not contaminated by carcinogens and other harmful substances in tobacco smoke.’

Source: FIFA, 31 May 2017
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Netherlands: University medical centres’ pension fund under pressure over €1.5bn tobacco investments

Employees of the Netherlands’ university medical centres (UMC) have called for their pension fund, ABP, to stop investing in the tobacco industry.

Jos Aartsen, chairman of the academic hospital UMC Groningen, spoke out during a conference entitled ‘Aiming for a smokefree health care sector’, organised by the Royal Dutch Medical Association earlier this week.

Source: Investment and Pensions Europe, 2 June 2017
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