ASH Daily News for 08 March 2017



Why young people are now less likely to smoke
 

Fresh is urging smokers in the North East to “ditch or switch”
 

Lighting up could leave you in the dark: eye health warning
 

Giving up cigarettes linked with recovery from illicit substance use disorders
 

Long term effects of smoking cessation in hospitalized schizophrenia patients
 

Smoking ban in Hart playgrounds comes into force
 

Parliamentary Question
 

Why young people are now less likely to smoke

The number of smokers in Britain has reached its lowest point since records began in 1974, according to new data from the Office for National Statistics, while more than a million people say they are using e-cigarettes to help them quit smoking.

The largest decrease is among young people. The latest figures for 2015 suggest one in every five (20.7%) 18- to 24-year-olds is a smoker. In 2010, this figure was one in every four (25.8%). Today, about 70% of 16- to 24-year-olds have never started smoking cigarettes in the first place, the data suggests – up from 46% in 1974, when records began.  And even among the age group most likely to smoke, 24- to 35-year-olds, about 60% – up from 35% in 1974 – have never picked up the habit.

ASH Policy Director Hazel Cheeseman says: “Creating an environment in which fewer young people try smoking and more smokers quit will protect the health of future generations and avoid hundreds and thousands of premature deaths. However, the achievements made to date are at risk. The government must urgently publish a new tobacco control plan for England and ensure this is properly funded.”

See also:
Smoking numbers hit new low as Britons turn to vaping to help quit cigarettes. The Guardian
Adult smoking habits in Great Britain: 2015.  Office for National Statistics

Source: BBC, 7th March 2017
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Fresh is urging smokers in the North East to “ditch or switch”

Fresh is urging smokers in the North East to “ditch or switch” to save money and improve health, as part of No Smoking Day. They are encouraging people to ditch their toxic tobacco or at least make the switch to a safer form of nicotine, such as electronic cigarettes.

Smoking is the major reason for differences in life expectancy between the richest and poorest people in society. Cost is often a major factor in quitting smoking and Fresh is reminding people who smoke that quitting could feel like an instant pay rise.

All stop smoking services in the North East are electronic cigarette friendly. Smokers can get advice at their GP surgery or pharmacy, or contact their local stop smoking service for help and support.

Source: Star Radio, 8th March 2017 [includes AUDIO]
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Lighting up could leave you in the dark: eye health warning

Leading eye charity, Eye Health UK, has marked No Smoking Day with a warning that the relationship between smoking and sight loss is as strong as the link between smoking and lung cancer and urged smokers to go smokefree.

A smoker is four times more likely to lose their sight than someone who has never smoked. Chemicals in tobacco smoke trigger biological changes in the eye that can lead to eye disease including age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts and thyroid eye disease. It can also cause poor eye health by contributing to conditions such as dry eye, uveitis and impair colour vision.

David Cartwright, chairman of Eye Health UK comments: “Half of all sight loss in the UK is avoidable and smoking is the single biggest modifiable risk factor. Saying ‘eye quit’ and joining the NHS smokefree programme will improve your eye health and significantly reduce your risk of losing your sight.”

Source: Ambulance Today, 7th March 2017
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Giving up cigarettes linked with recovery from illicit substance use disorders

Smokers in recovery from illicit drug use disorders are at greater risk of relapsing three years later compared with those who do not smoke cigarettes, results of the study by researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the City University of New York suggest.

Most adults who have illicit drug use disorders also smoke cigarettes. Yet while treatments for substance use disorders traditionally include and require concurrent treatment for addiction to all substances—including treatment for and required abstinence from alcohol and any other illicit substance use—treatment for nicotine dependence has not routinely been part of treatment for illicit substance use problems.

“Quitting smoking will improve anyone’s health,” says lead author Andrea Weinberger, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “But our study shows that giving up cigarettes may be even more important for adults in recovery from illicit substance use disorders since it may help them stay sober.”

Source: MedicalXpress, 7th March 2017
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Long term effects of smoking cessation in hospitalized schizophrenia patients

A study of 70 Japanese patients with schizophrenia (38 smokers, 32 non-smokers) suggests that smoking reduces both autonomic nervous system activity and the effectiveness of drug therapy with antipsychotics and antiparkinsonian drugs in patients with schizophrenia. Both factors could be ameliorated over the long term by smoking cessation. Taken together with the findings of previous studies, the research shows that smoking cessation in patients with schizophrenia has many long-term positive physiological effects.

Source: BMC Psychiatry, 7th March 2017
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Smoking ban in Hart playgrounds comes into force

Hart District Council (Hampshire) has joined forces with local Town and Parish Councils to launch a smokefree parks scheme. An increasing number of local authorities across the UK are introducing voluntary bans on smoking in spaces where young people play and exercise, as 80% of cigarette smoke is invisible and odourless and secondhand smoke is especially dangerous for children, babies, and women who are pregnant.

Councillor Dr Anne Crampton, Cabinet Member for Community Wellbeing in Hart, said: “We are pleased to be working together with our Parish and Town Council partners to introduce this scheme. Research has shown that smoking in family-friendly spaces can send children a message that tobacco is a common part of life. We hope that the scheme will help to de-normalise smoking and reduce children’s exposure to secondhand smoke.”

Fleet Town Council, Yateley Town Council, Hook Parish Council and Hartley Wintney Parish Council have all signed up to the scheme and signs have been erected in play parks across the four towns and villages to politely ask people not to smoke in those areas. The scheme’s launch coincides with No Smoking Day.

Source: Eagle Radio, 8th March 2017
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Parliamentary Question

PQ: Smoking
Philip Davies Conservative, Shipley
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if he will make it his policy that future grants awarded for work previously conducted by Action on Smoking and Health will be awarded on a competitive basis.

Nicola Blackwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health
Grants made under Section 64 of the Health Services and Public Health Act 1968 can be made in a number of ways. For the activities delivered by the current grant, awarded to Action on Smoking and Health, it was assessed that the non-competed tender route was most appropriate. Any future applications for funding under the Section 64 grant system will be reviewed by the Department in accordance with the Cabinet Office Minimum Standards which came into force in December 2016.

Source: HC Deb, 7 March 2017
Link: http://bit.ly/2lDf4qQ