ASH Daily News for 07 March 2017



  • Overseas aid budget money includes funding for smoking cessation schemes
  • Becoming tobacco-free is feasible, boosts safety in a mental health hospital
  • Sussex mental health unit goes smokefree
  • Tenth anniversary of smokefree law in Wales
  • Almost 500 people in Liverpool pledge to quit smoking after campaign launch
  • Australia: Cigarettes and plain packaging – new dataset says it works
  • Canada: Can Canada aggressively lower tobacco use by 2035?

Overseas aid budget money includes funding for smoking cessation schemes

Approximately £150 million of the UK’s health budget was spent on international development in the past year. This included £15 million on the World Health Organisation’s tobacco control schemes.

Following parliamentary questions about the expenditure by Philip Davies MP, a Department of Health spokesperson said: ‘The way we account for this money has changed over time, and not a penny of it has been diverted away from the NHS frontline—but as diseases do not respect borders, and epidemics like Ebola threaten us at home, we make no apology for using UK expertise to help people in developing countries defeat the world’s worst infectious diseases.’

Source: The Daily Mail – 05 March 2017
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Becoming tobacco-free is feasible, boosts safety in a mental health hospital

A new study by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) showed positive changes in attitudes and a reduction in patient agitation after implementing a fully tobacco-free environment at Canada’s largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital. The findings, which appear in the March 2017 issue of The American Journal on Addictions, are contrary to perceptions that eliminating access to tobacco in mental health and addiction centres may have negative outcomes.

It’s one of the first long-term studies measuring the impact of a hospital-wide tobacco-free policy on attitudes and adverse events. The study evaluated staff and patient attitudes, and two types of adverse events – patient agitation and fire-related incidents – prior to and after CAMH became completely tobacco-free in April 2014.

“Over the course of the study, patient and staff attitudes became increasingly positive, and episodes of aggression decreased significantly,” says Dr. Tony George, senior author of the study and Chief of CAMH’s Addiction Division. Dr. George also heads the Biobehavioural Addictions and Concurrent Disorders Research Laboratory in CAMH’s Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute, and is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. “Going tobacco-free can make it a better place to be a patient and a staff member,” he adds.

Source: Medical Xpress – 06 March 2017
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Sussex mental health unit goes smokefree

From Wednesday, 8th March, staff, patients, carers and visitors will be prohibited from smoking anywhere on site of The Hellingly Centre, a secure unit for people with mental health problems. The smoking ban includes doorways, grounds and car parks.

People with mental health issues are more likely to smoke, and to smoke more heavily than other people, which is one of the main reasons that they tend to have poorer physical health and lower life expectancy. In addition, the smoke from tobacco also reduces the effectiveness of some types of medication, meaning larger doses are required compared to those needed by a non-smoker.

Diane Hull, executive director of nursing and patient experience at Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said, “Smoking is the leading cause of premature death in the UK, and two out of every five cigarettes are smoked by someone with a mental health condition. Most of the reduction in life expectancy among people with serious mental illness is attributable to smoking. We have a responsibility to support our patients’ physical health as well as their mental health and going smoke free is a big part of helping us to do this.”

Source: Sussex Express – 06 March 2017
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Tenth anniversary of smokefree law in Wales

As the tenth anniversary of Wales’ smokefree law approaches on 2nd April, tobacco control groups have confirmed the public health benefits the legislation has had. “The smoking ban has resulted in the most positive improvement in the nation’s health in decades,” chief executive of ASH Wales, Suzanne Cass, said. “The significance of this legislation should not be underestimated. Thousands more children now live in a smoke-free home, and hundreds of thousands of people are no longer subjected to the deadly effects of passive smoking.”

A Welsh Government spokesman said the smoking ban had “played an important part of our efforts to reduce smoking rates in Wales, with the percentage of adults smoking now at a record low. Welsh Health Survey 2015 showed 19% of adults reported they currently smoke, down from 26% in 2003-04. This significant reduction means we have exceeded our aim of reducing smoking rates to 20% by 2016 and we remain focused on reducing levels to 16% by 2020.”

Source: Wales Online – 04 March 2017
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Almost 500 people in Liverpool pledge to quit smoking after campaign launch

A public health campaign launched in Liverpool in January has already persuaded almost 500 people to give up smoking. Smoking accounts for almost 1,000 deaths every year in Liverpool and 25 % of people in the city smoke. The campaign “Kick the Ciggies” and “Chuck the Ciggies” saw an 86% increase in referrals to SmokeFree Liverpool, a free service which provides one to one support and access to medicines that fight cravings. There was also a 38% increase in the number of phone calls the service received.

Almost 15,000 people watched a series of videos produced for the campaign, which included Liverpool FC legend Jamie Carragher and actress Gemma Brodrick giving tips, advice and encouragement on giving up.

A total of 495 people set a quit date with SmokeFree Liverpool in January 2017 – 220 up on the average for previous months. But the actual figure could be as high as 1,760 because research shows that for every person that contacts SmokeFree Liverpool, another seven will try to give up without using the service. Now, other smokers are being urged to try and quit on National No Smoking Day on Wednesday, March 8.

Source: YB News – 06 March 2017
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Australia: Cigarettes and plain packaging – new dataset says it works

Smoking rates in Australia have dropped to record lows since the introduction of plain packaging in late 2012.

The latest data from the Australian Secondary Student’s Alcohol and Drug survey show that between 2011 and 2014 the number of 12 to 17 year-old students who have never smoked increased from 77.4% to 80.5%. Adult smoking rates have also fallen. Among Australians aged 14 or older the number of people who smoke daily fell from 15.1% to 12.8% between 2010-13. There are now 200,000 fewer smokers in this age group.

Source: BizNews – 06 March 2017
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Canada: Can Canada aggressively lower tobacco use by 2035?

Canadian Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott has committed to reducing tobacco use among Canadians to less than 5% by 2035. “This is a pressing public health matter – there’s no question about it,” Dr. Philpott said in her keynote address, adding that the government is prepared to take an aggressive approach to meet the ambitious target.

According to Health Canada, 4.6 million Canadians (about 13%) currently use tobacco, with 115,000 picking up the habit in 2015 alone. Smoking rates among youth and young adults haven’t changed since 2013 – a major concern considering that more than 80% of current smokers had their first cigarette by the age of 18. A Canadian dies from a smoking-related illness every 14 minutes. The government forecasts that if tobacco use continues on its current course, smoking rates will dip to 9% by 2036.

According to a consultation document released by Health Canada last week, all kinds of policy options are being considered for the new Federal Tobacco Control Strategy, including raising the minimum age for the purchase of tobacco products to 21; developing regulations to reduce the addictiveness of tobacco products; and banning smoking on postsecondary campuses, in parks and in multi-unit apartment buildings. The government said it’s also looking at ways to help people quit or reduce their use of tobacco products, possibly through a shift to less harmful products such as electronic cigarettes.

See also:
Consultation on the future of tobacco control in Canada, Government of Canada

Source: The Globe and Mail – 01 March 2017
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