ASH Daily News for 02 February 2017



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  • University seeks heavy smokers for landmark study on e-cigarette safety
  • Study suggests electronic cigarettes might impact heart health
  • Stub it out: Smoking challenge for hospitals in Wales
  • Bedford: Smoking breaks cost the economy £14 million a year
  • Berlin woman faces €250,000 fine if she smokes on her balcony after 8pm
  • Parliamentary Questions

University seeks heavy smokers for landmark study on e-cigarette safety

Researchers at St George’s University London are seeking participants for a long term study into the health impact of switching from tobacco to e-cigarettes.

Research will assess the impact of the switch on indictors including risks for cancer, brain activity and quality of life indicators such as sleep. The pilot study is part of the EU’s £3.4 million Smoke Free Britain project.

The research is being carried out in cooperation with Public Health England and could be used to help determine whether e-cigarettes could become available on the NHS in future.

Dr Alexis Bailey, senior lecturer in neuropharmacology at St George’s said: “E-cigarettes have proved enormously popular, partly because of the harm reduction compared with smoking traditional cigarettes. However, there is still considerable debate in the scientific community over just how much safer they are and how good they are for smoking cessation. It is imperative for us to look at the science behind this and get the full toxicological picture.”

Source: The Evening Standard – 01 February 2017
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Study suggests electronic cigarettes might impact heart health

A new study published in JAMA Cardiology suggests that use of e-cigarettes might have an impact of heart health.

The study examined 23 regular e-cigarette users (use most days for over a year) and 19 non-users aged between 21 and 45. The researchers found that regular users were more likely than non-users to have increased cardiac sympathetic activity and oxidative stress, both known symptoms of increased cardiovascular risk.

While researchers noted the importance of their study they also urged caution. Researchers stated that causality could not be confirmed on the basis of this single, small study, and that further research into the potential adverse cardiovascular health effects of e-cigarettes is warranted.

See also:
E-cigarettes ‘damage your heart – raising risk of heart attack and stroke’, The Sun
E-cigarettes may increase cardiovascular risk, Medical X Press

Source: AlphaGalileo – 01 February 2017
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Wales: Stub it out: Smoking challenge for hospitals

School pupils have gathered outside Prince Charles’ Hospital in Wales to campaign for people to stop smoking on the hospital site.

Cwm Taf University Health Board – who manage the sites – say they are doing everything they can but people have a “total disregard” for the no smoking signs plastered across their NHS grounds.

While all seven health boards in Wales have smokefree policies in place they say they are “powerless” to stop people lighting up, as they are not yet backed by legislation and so smokers are not breaking any laws. The Public Health Wales Bill – which is currently going through the Assembly – would make it illegal to smoke on hospital grounds, giving the boards the much needed legal backing to issue fines to smokers flaunting the rules.

The Welsh Government has said the bill will “build on existing voluntary smoking bans in order to aid enforcement”.

Source: BBC News – 01 February 2017
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Bedford: Smoking breaks cost the economy £14 million a year

New figures from health charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), suggests that smoking cost Bedford Borough’s economy almost £34 million last year. The most significant figure in this calculation was smoking breaks, estimated to cost the economy £14 million a year in lost productivity.

Councillor Louise Jackson, portfolio holder for public health, said: “Both councils and the NHS are experiencing severe funding pressures so these costs are not sustainable. Smoking remains the single largest cause of preventable death and illness in Bedford Borough, and the council provides free advice and support to help smokers to stop. People who use the stop smoking service are up to four times more likely to quit and last year we helped more than 700 people to successfully stop.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH, said: “We know that most local authorities remain committed to reducing smoking but key services are under threat from public health funding cuts.”

Source: Bedford Today – 01 February 2017
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Berlin woman faces €250,000 fine if she smokes on her balcony after 8pm

A Berlin woman has been banned from smoking on her balcony between 8pm and 6am and could face a €250,000 fine if she violates the ban.

The woman, known as Uta F, was taken to court by her neighbour who complained that cigarette smoke has been blowing into his apartment. The court ruled in his favour, prohibiting the hours when Uta F can smoke on her balcony.

The judgement was based on a federal court ruling from 2015 that said smoking tenants are only guaranteed to be able to smoke on their balconies during limited time periods, because the smoke presents a significant disturbance to others.

Source: The Local – 31 January 2017
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Parliamentary Questions

PQ1: Tobacco Control Plan
Neil Coyle Labour, Bermondsey and Old Southwark
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, whether the new Tobacco Control Plan will include funding for media campaigning to promote the reduction of smoking rates.

Neil Coyle Labour, Bermondsey and Old Southwark
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, whether the new Tobacco Control Plan will include targets for reducing smoking rates.

Nicola Blackwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health
I refer the hon. Member to my answer during the Westminster Hall debate on the Tobacco Control Plan on 13 October 2016, Official Report, columns 165WH-197WH. The Plan, which will be published shortly, will build on our success so far and will include renewed national ambitions. The Government remains committed to funding a programme of evidence-based marketing campaigns.

Source: Hansard – 31 January 2017
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PQ2: Tobacco Control Plan
Neil Coyle Labour, Bermondsey and Old Southwark
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, whether he plans to publish the Tobacco Control Plan in (a) January 2017, (b) February 2017, (c) March 2017 and (d) later than March 2017.

Nicola Blackwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health
An exact publication date for the Tobacco Control Plan has yet to be decided.

Source: Hansard – 27 January 2017
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PQ3: Preventable deaths
Laurence Robertson, Tewkesbury
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what estimate he has made of the cost to the NHS of (a) smoking-related and (b) alcohol-related diseases in the most recent year for which figures are available.

Nicola Blackwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health
Treating smoking-related illnesses cost the National Health Service in England an estimated £2.7 billion in 2006/07. These estimates are being updated as part of the development of the tobacco control plan.

Figures of the cost to the NHS of alcohol misuse are not available on an annual basis.
The most recent estimate from Public Health England (PHE) for 2014 is that alcohol costs the NHS around £3.5 billion per annum. The Department estimates that just under half of that is due to alcohol related inpatient admissions to hospital.

Source: Hansard – 26 January 2017
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