ASH Daily News for 07 July 2016


  • Vaping in public places: advice for employers and organisations

    Public Health England has produced new framework advice for businesses and employers on the use of e-cigarettes. PHE’s new framework helps organisations create e-cigarette policies that will support smokers to quit and stay smokefree, while managing any risks specific to their setting.

    The framework acknowledges that workplaces vary greatly and thus there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. However, the PHE advice does set out five principles which should guide employers to creating policies appropriate to their environment.

    PHE’s framework advice has been published to coincide with a national stakeholder symposium on e-cigarettes and their role in tobacco harm reduction, held jointly with Cancer Research UK. George Butterworth, Cancer Research UK’s tobacco policy manager, said: “E-cigarettes are still a relatively new product, so it’s understandable that many people and businesses may not know how to deal with them. The evidence so far shows e-cigarettes are much safer than tobacco and they have the potential to help people give up a deadly addiction. It’s important the benefit of using them are maximised while reducing any negative impact, and organisations need independent advice from Public Health England to set out their own policies.”

    See also:
    PHE’s full set of advice and guidance: Use of e-cigarettes in public places and work places

    Source: Gov.UK 6 July 2016

  • Smoking cannabis with tobacco increases risk of dependence

    New research has found that individuals who smoke cannabis with tobacco have less motivation to quit than those who smoke it without tobacco.

    Researchers used questionnaire data from 33,687 cannabis users taken from the 2014 Global Drug Survey. Participants came from 18 countries across the Americas, Australasia, and Europe. The researchers found that the route by which cannabis was taken influenced users’ motivation to quit, and the likelihood that they would search for help in quitting.

    Individuals who used non-tobacco routes more regularly were 61.5% more likely to want professional help to use less cannabis. They also had an 80.6% higher chance of wanting help to use less tobacco when compared with individuals who favoured tobacco routes. In a similar vein, those using non-tobacco routes more frequently had a 10.7% higher chance of wanting to use less tobacco and a 103.9% higher chance of actively seeking help to reduce tobacco intake.

    The current findings support previous studies that suggest tobacco increases the overall dependence on cannabis. Further research along similar lines will help shape recommendations and design more effective quitting programs for both drugs.

    See also:
    The full research published in Frontiers in Psychiatry can be accessed here
    The Mail Online: Mixing cannabis with tobacco ‘increases risk of addiction’: Smoking drug ‘makes you 60% LESS likely to want to quit’

    Source: Medical X Press 6 July 2016

  • USA: Advice to WHO nations to consider mandatory low-nicotine cigarettes is premature, researcher says

    World Health Organization nations have been advised to consider a “global nicotine reduction strategy.” This strategy would require that very low nicotine cigarettes could be the only cigarettes sold legally. These cigarettes would have so little nicotine in the tobacco that they would not create an addiction to cigarettes.

    However, Lynn T. Kozlowski, a professor of community health and health behaviour at the University of Buffalo’s School of Public Health and Health Professions, cautions that much more needs to be known about the effects of such an untested prohibition or ban of traditional cigarettes before any WHO nations implement the recommendation.

    “Countries need to appreciate that such a ban or prohibition of traditional cigarettes has not yet been assessed anywhere in a community with a representative sample that includes individuals with mental health or other substance abuse issues,” says Kozlowski.

    Moreover, Kozlowski says, the scientific evidence on the effectiveness of reduced-nicotine cigarettes “shows quite small effects of doubtful clinical significance” and has been conducted on samples that aren’t representative of smokers overall.

    Banning a desired product could create contraband markets, as well as costs associated with enforcing the ban, Kozlowski points out.

    Source: Medical X Press 6 July 2016

  • USA: Meet the farmers turning their tobacco into airplane fuel

    On Briar View Farms, first-generation tobacco grower Robert Mills hopes tobacco-based biofuel can spark a profitable future for tobacco growers. “With the uncertainty of tobacco, growers are always looking for new opportunities,” he says. Over the past four decades, the demand for tobacco in the US has declined with the number of tobacco farms decreasing from 180,000 in the 1980s to just 10,000 in 2012.

    Since 2009, the US biofuel company Tyton BioEnergy Systems has partnered with agronomists from Virginia Tech and North Carolina State University and tobacco growers to research the potential for turning tobacco into biomass.

    “There is a lot of land not being used in tobacco regions that isn’t good for growing row crops,” explains Tyton co-founder Peter Majeranowski. “Instead of growing low-value crops like hay, farmers can earn more revenue per acre growing ‘energy tobacco’.”

    One acre of tobacco can yield up to 80 wet tons of biomass and all of the byproducts, including sugars, oils and proteins, can be used in products ranging from biofuel and animal feed to soil amendments.

    Source: The Guardian 6 July 2016

  • Tasmania wants to increase the legal age to buy cigarettes from 18 to create a ‘tobacco free generation’

    Cigarette sales could be banned to anyone aged under 25 under a proposal being considered by politicians in Tasmania. While the plan faces a protracted legal and political battle, the Tasmanian parliament is already considering raising the purchase age from 18 to 21.

    However some MPs want to go further and phase out cigarettes. The Tobacco Free Generations Bill being proposed by Ivan Dean MP is trying to stop the sale of tobacco to anyone born after the year 2000.

    The plan to lift the buying age to 25 is seen as a compromise position.

    Source: The Mail Online 7 July 2016