ASH Daily News for 05 February 2019



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UK

  • The Truth about E-cigarettes: Quit Smoking this World Cancer Day
  • Track and Trace regulations set to be implemented
  • North West: One in seven pregnant women in Wigan smokes

International

  • Study: Longer smoking cessation treatment can improve quitting among cancer patients

UK

The Truth about E-cigarettes: Quit Smoking this World Cancer Day

In an interview published in News-Medical Life Sciences, Dr. Lion Shabab, Associate Professor at University College London, discusses the safety of e-cigarettes, or vaping, in comparison to smoking cigarettes.

Are e-cigarettes healthier than cigarettes?

“Yes. Growing consensus suggests that e-cigarettes confer no more than 5% of the health risks associated with smoking. This is primarily due to the fact that e-cigarettes do not involve combustion which leads to the formation of harmful toxic and cancer-causing compounds.”

Can e-cigarettes be harmful to human health? How much do we know about the long-term use of e-cigarettes?

“Most things, even relatively innocuous substances, can be harmful to humans, and e-cigarettes are no exception. As diseases often occur with a long-time lag (20-40 years) after exposure, we cannot be sure that e-cigarettes are completely safe because we simply do not have the data yet.”

“However, within the context of continued smoking, e-cigarettes present a much less harmful alternative, simply because cigarettes are such a dangerous product, and e-cigarettes are tightly regulated for quality and safety. While it is difficult at this stage to estimate the impact of long-term use of e-cigarettes precisely, we have some knowledge about some of the constituents that are used in e-liquids.”

Source: News-Medical Life Sciences, 4 February 2019

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Track and Trace regulations set to be implemented

With just over three months to go before the new Track and Trace regulations are enforced, concerns of a possible backlog of applications from retailers are growing. The legislation is designed to curb the illicit trade by tracking tobacco products through the supply chain.

From 20 May retailers will need two unique codes in order to purchase tobacco legally: an ‘economic operator identifier code’ for their business and a ‘facility identifier code’ for each of their stores. Retailers will need to apply to the UK’s new ID Issuer in order to receive the codes and it is understood that wholesalers and symbol groups will also be able to apply for codes on their behalf.

A HMRC spokesperson said: “A key requirement for securing the contract is the ability of the provider to issue operator codes within sufficient time for retailers to meet the requirements. HMRC has chosen a preferred provider and we expect the final contract clarification to conclude shortly. We will work with the provider to ensure that systems will be available for testing ahead of the 20 May 2019 deadline.”

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We have repeatedly called on HMRC to publish details of how retailers can get the codes they need to comply with the regulations, as problems with this process could lead to retailers not getting their codes in time, and subsequently not being able to purchase tobacco products legitimately through no fault of their own.”

Source: Convenience Store, 4 February 2019

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North West: One in seven pregnant women in Wigan smokes

Figures from NHS Digital show that 15.4% of women in Wigan are smoking during pregnancy. This compares to 10.5% across England and 11.9% in Greater Manchester.

A joint statement from Wigan Council and Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) said: “The aspiration is that all babies will be born into a smoke-free environment and Wigan maternity service is working closely with Wigan Council to provide training for midwives and ongoing support for women and families within the borough to achieve the goal of delivering a tobacco-free generation within the next 10 years.”

“Stopping smoking has many benefits for your baby. It will reduce the risk of your baby being born too early or being too small, both of which can cause problems during and after birth, including problems with breathing and feeding.”

They add that pregnant woman are assessed regularly about their smoking status and given advice and support to quit. They are also CO breath-tested by the maternity team and there is support through community health services, such as Healthy Routes, the health visiting team and Start Well family services. Support is also available to members of the family who smoke.

Source: Wigan Today, 4 February 2019

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International

Study: Longer smoking cessation treatment can improve quitting among cancer patients

A small clinical trial published in the medical journal Psycho-Oncology has found that cancer patients are more successful at giving up cigarettes for good if they take a smoking cessation medicine for 24 weeks instead of the usual 12 weeks. Continuing to take varenicline (Champix) as directed and attending ongoing behavioural counselling were the most important factors for successful quitting and avoiding relapse.

A Surgeon General’s report in 2014 concluded that continued smoking by cancer patients is associated with all-cause and cancer-specific deaths, yet about half of patients who smoked before their diagnosis continue to smoke.

Stephanie Land of the National Cancer Institute (US), said: “Cancer patients who smoke may think that the damage is done and there is nothing to be gained by quitting. We now know that is wrong. Quitting smoking is one of the best things patients can do to improve their own outcomes.”

Source: Reuters, 4 February 2019

Psycho-Oncology: A randomised control trial of 24 weeks of varenicline for tobacco use among cancer patients: Efficacy, safety, and adherence

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