ASH Daily News for 05 January 2017

  • Doctors urge Theresa May to publish tobacco control strategy
  • Game to help people quit smoking
  • Liverpool: Famous faces offer support to quit smoking
  • Litter in Scotland on the rise says INCPEN
  • New Zealand: tobacco tax to rise 10% this year
  • USA:  Fewer see e-cigarettes as less harmful than cigarettes

Doctors urge Theresa May to publish tobacco control strategy

Over 1,000 leading doctors including the heads of royal colleges and public health institutions have called on the Prime Minister to publish a new tobacco control plan without delay.

In a letter to Theresa May, the medical professionals argue that a new plan is needed to drive down smoking rates which are highest amongst the least affluent members of society. The letter reminds the Prime Minister of her commitment to “fight against the burning injustice that if you’re born poor you will die on average nine years earlier than others”, pointing out that half this gap in life expectancy is caused by smoking.

The letter is being sent by Dr Andrew Furber President of the Association of Directors of Public Health and Professor John Middleton, President of the Faculty for Public Health.  Furber warned that progress against smoking, which has been good in recent years, could slip. “Directors of public health in local authorities are charged with the responsibility of reducing smoking prevalence. But to succeed needs leadership at national as well as local level,” he said. “The government must renew the tobacco strategy without further delay. Otherwise we risk losing the momentum gained from recent welcome changes such as standardised packing.”

The first tobacco control strategy, Smoking Skills, was published in 1998 followed by a renewed plan in 2011. While some tobacco control measures have been a response to European legislation, Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of Action on Smoking and Health, says tobacco control strategies have reduced smoking rates in England faster than in other European countries, particularly among children.

In 1998, 24% of 15-year-olds were smoking, but by 2014 that proportion had dropped to 8%. “France and Germany had European legislation but their rates have not gone down as fast,” Arnott said.

Experts hope that the new tobacco control plan will plot the course for reducing smoking rates to 5% or less by 2035. “What we want is a smoke-free future,” said Dr Nicholas Hopkinson, a consultant chest physician at the Royal Brompton hospital and reader in respiratory medicine at Imperial College. “It is absolutely clear these interventions work. It is just keeping up the momentum and making sure there is a high priority to this,” he said.

Source: The Guardian – 05 January 2017
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Game to help people quit smoking

A team of researches has developed a smartphone gaming app to help people quit smoking.
It also incorporates more than 30 behavioural change techniques, including health messages, to help users quit.

The game, which was a collaboration between Hope Caton, a lecturer at Kingston University and Robert Walton, a professor of primary medical care at Queen Mary’s University of London, is designed to reward users as they play.

“When you’re trying to quit smoking you don’t get much instant feedback except desire. Your health is better but somehow it doesn’t have the same effect as being told you’re winning or getting a gold star,” Caton said.  The game is being piloted in 5 London boroughs.

Source: Huffington Post – 04 January 2017
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Liverpool: Famous faces offer support to quit smoking

A new public health campaign is being launched in Liverpool to encourage people aged 30 – 60 to quit smoking.

Research by Public Health Liverpool shows that people within this age group are motivated to quit smoking but often lack the confidence to do so. They are now being targeted in an online drive to make people aware of the support that is available locally.

There are separate websites for men and women, with men being encouraged to ‘Kick the Ciggies’ and driven towards a website where they can receive support from famous footballers such as Jamie Carragher. Alternatively women are being driven towards a website calling on them to ‘Chuck the Ciggies’ which features local actress and presenter Gemma Brodrick and top tips from Liverpool women who have successfully quit.

Both sites will direct people towards Smokefree Liverpool, a stop smoking service which helps around 250 men and women a month give up smoking through specialist one to one support and access to nicotine replacement therapy.

Source: Good News Liverpool – 04 January 2017
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Litter in Scotland on the rise says INCPEN

A study conducted by Keep Scotland Beautiful, commissioned by INCPEN (The Industry Council for Research on Packaging and the Environment) carried out across 120 sites has found an increase in the amount of litter.

The study found that cigarette butts and gum made up the majority of litter with cigarette packets making up a further 4%. The study covers the period since the Scottish Government launched its new plan: ‘Towards a Litter Free Scotland’ in 2014, the same year that charges on carrier bags were introduced.

Source: Packaging News – 04 January 2017
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New Zealand: tobacco tax to rise 10% this year

The price of a pack of cigarettes is due to rise by 10% this year, as part of the Government’s plan to raise annual tax on tobacco products.

The cost of a pack is expected to rise to $30 in the next four years as part of the Government’s plan to motivate smokers to quit with the aim of making New Zealand smokefree by 2025.

Source: Sunlive – 05 January 2017
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USA:  Fewer see e-cigarettes as less harmful than cigarettes

The perception that e-cigarettes are less harmful than regular cigarettes fell between 2012 and 2014, a sign that fewer people see them as a safe alternative to smoking tobacco, a new study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health suggests.

In 2012, the study found half of those surveyed thought e-cigarettes were less harmful than cigarettes. By 2014, the number had dropped to 43 percent.

The study was based on the Health Information National Trends Surveys conducted by the National Cancer Institute. The nationally representative sample included smokers, former smokers and non-smokers. The study appears online in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Source: Medical Express – 04 January 2017
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