ASH Daily News for 07 December 2016



  • Hospitals ‘woefully failing’ to crackdown on smoking
  • Public Health England seeks commitment to a smokefree NHS
  • Ireland: Government criticised over delay in standardised packaging
  • USA: Philip Morris seeks approval to market alternative cigarette
  • Pakistan: Subcommittee finalises prohibition of smoking bill but omits key recommendations
  • China: Beijing sees 2,719 fined over smoke ban

Hospitals ‘woefully failing’ to crackdown on smoking

A new report has found that NHS hospitals across the UK are falling short on measures to help patients, staff and visitors quit smoking.

An audit conducted by the British Thoracic Survey examined policies at 140 hospitals and considered 14,750 patient records. The study found that 72% of hospital patients who smoked were not asked if they would like to quit, while just 8% were referred to hospital or community stop smoking services. Over a quarter (27%) of patients were not asked about their smoking status.

The survey further found that only one in 16 hospitals fully enforced a no-smoking policy.

Dr Sanjay Agrawal, consultant lung specialist and chairman of the British Thoracic Society’s Tobacco Group, who led the audit, said: “Our report shows that many NHS hospitals are woefully failing to meet national guidance on delivering smoking cessation services and smoke-free premises. This is a dangerous situation that is costing the country dear in both health and economic terms. We must do better.

Dr Agrawal went on to say that: “hospitals are missing out on a golden opportunity to help supply often the most effective treatment for illnesses that smokers are admitted with – support and treatment for their tobacco dependence. If patients in other disease areas were not offered, by default, the most effective way to treat their condition, there would probably be an uproar. Nevertheless, this happens all too frequently with people with smoking-related illnesses.”

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of health charity Ash, said: “Every year thousands of people across the UK are admitted to hospital to be treated for diseases such as heart disease, cancer and respiratory disorders caused by smoking. Given the scale of the harm caused by smoking, it’s shocking that more is not being done in hospitals to support patients to quit.”

Source: Evening Express – 07 December 2016
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Public Health England seeks commitment to smokefree NHS

NHS Trusts have been urged to support smokers to quit and to make their premises smokefree in a letter from Public Health England Chief Executive Duncan Selbie. In a letter addressed to all trust chief executives, Selbie seeks their commitment to “achieving a step change towards a tobacco free NHS”.

The letter outlines a scheme for trusts to identify and record the smoking status of all inpatients, and providing them with advice as well as the offer of medication and a referral. This scheme applies to acute trusts in 2018/19 and to community and mental health trusts in both 2017/18 and 2018/19.

Selbie went on to detail how Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) can achieve savings and improve health outcomes. For example the care plans of patients who smoke should include addressing their tobacco dependence.

See also:
A tobacco-free NHS: achieving a step change, PHE

Source: P3 Pharmacy – 06 December 2016
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Ireland: Government criticised over delay in standardised packaging

Fine Gael deputy leader Dr James Reilly has criticised the Government over the delay in introducing standardised packaging of tobacco products.

Dr Reilly, who led calls for and development of the legislation when he was Children’s Minister, has expressed serious concern that the new laws are three and a half years behind schedule.

The industry has sought a 12-month period after the law is enacted to allow it to sell off any outstanding stock as is the case in the UK. If this is granted then it appears unlikely that standardised packaging will be seen in the Republic of Ireland until 2018.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health confirmed that the legislation has yet to be enacted.
“The Public Health (Standardised Packaging of Tobacco) Act 2015 is currently being amended by the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2016 which is currently going through the legislative process in the Oireachtas,” she said.

“These provisions are of a technical and practical nature and the majority seek to provide basic information to the consumer. Once the bill completes the legislative process and is enacted, arrangements can then be made to introduce the standardised packaging measures.”

Source: Herald.ie – 07 December 2016
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USA: Philip Morris seeks approval to market alternative cigarette

Philip Morris has filed a much anticipated application with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to market their new alternative tobacco device, IQOS.

The company’s application seeks permission to market IQOS, which heats tobacco rather than burning it, as less harmful than conventional cigarettes. If it is given permission to make such claims it is expected to gain a market advantage over other products, including e-cigarettes, which are not allowed to make such promotional statements.

See also:
Philip Morris Files FDA Application for Heat-Not-Burn, Progressive Grocer
Philip Morris applies to bring heated up tobacco sticks to US, Consumerist
Philip Morris International seeks FDA approval for “modified risk” tobacco product, Richmond Times Dispatch

Source: Reuters – 06 December 2016
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Pakistan: Subcommittee finalises prohibition of smoking bill but omits key recommendations

The Senate Subcommittee on the National Health Services has finalised The Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-Smokers Health (Amendment) Bill 2016. However, many of the recommendations have been omitted.

The Bill, as it was tabled, called for a ban on tobacco advertisement including at the point of sale and suggested that the tobacco industry should not be allowed to sponsor events.

However, according to the subcommittee’s minutes, members said prohibition of tobacco advertisements was already defined and that a ban on point of sale displays could deprive retailers of their business rights. The bill has also allowed tobacco companies to continue with their corporate social responsibility events.

Head of The Network for Consumer Protection Nadeem Iqbal, who assisted in the drafting of the bill said the committee had only taken the tobacco industry’s concerns on-board and did not consider the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control which puts a stop to these activities.

Source: Dawn – 07 December 2016
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China: Beijing sees 2,719 fined over smoke ban

Over 2700 people in Beijing have been fined over public smoking since the city introduced China’s toughest tobacco control regulations 18 months ago. On top of this, enforcement officers have also levied fines of over 1.8 million yuan on over 660 premises’ owners for failing to comply with the regulations.

The announcement from the Beijing Commission of Health and Family Planning further included the news that smoking in public places had reduced from 11.3% before the regulations came into effect to 3.8% at the end of last year, suggesting the new regulations are having an impact.

Source: China Daily – 07 December 2016
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