ASH Daily News for 12 October 2018



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UK

  • Study: E-cigarette use shifts towards lower socioeconomic groups
  • London: Smokers to be scanned in supermarket car parks in pioneering bid to cut lung cancer deaths

Link of the Week

  • Blog: Tobacco smoke and environmental injustice

UK

Study: E-cigarette use shifts towards lower socioeconomic groups

A new study published in the journal Addiction has found that use of e-cigarettes has shifted from more affluent early adopters to being used more widely across all socioeconomic groups.

The research, which is the first of its kind to examine use of e-cigarettes by socioeconomic group at the population level, included data from over 80,000 adults in the UK aged 16 and over. The burden of disease and premature mortality from tobacco smoke is currently heaviest among the most disadvantaged groups.

Loren Kock, lead author of the study, said: “E-cigarettes have the potential either to decrease or increase health inequalities depending on levels of smoking cessation… Our research indicates that from 2014 to 2016, e-cigarette use among smokers was generally higher among those from more affluent socioeconomic groups, with disadvantaged groups around half as likely to use an e-cigarette in 2014, but this gap was no longer evident in 2017.”

Source: UCL News, 11 October 2018

Addiction: E‐cigarette use in England 2014‐2017 as a function of socioeconomic profile.

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London: Smokers to be scanned in supermarket car parks in pioneering bid to cut lung cancer deaths

A new pilot scheme in West London will offer current and former smokers lung cancer scans in order to improve early detection of the disease. Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death in the UK, partly as a result of late diagnosis.

The NHS funded scheme will cost £1 million and will target over 7,000 smokers and former smokers outside supermarkets in London.

The results from the trial will help determine whether the NHS should set up a national screening program for lung cancer.

Source: London Evening Standard, 10 October 2018

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Link of the Week

Blog: Tobacco smoke and environmental injustice

In this blog, Nick Hopkinson from Imperial College London highlights the environmental harm caused by the tobacco industry and makes the case for supporting low income countries to transition away from tobacco production alongside reducing tobacco consumption.

“Crucially, while profits from the tobacco industry accrue in the rich world, the largest environmental burdens fall on low and middle income countries. Of the top 10 tobacco producing countries, nine are developing and four are defined as low income, food deficit countries. Smokers in high income countries like the UK are literally and metaphorically burning the resources and the future of the most vulnerable people on our planet.

As well as squandering resource inputs, the outputs of the tobacco product life cycle pollute water and land and contribute to climate change. An estimated 4.5 trillion cigarette butts are released into the environment—toxic trash that poisons water and land. Actions to tackle this include demanding extended product liability from the industry so that it takes responsibility for the whole life cycle and externalities are costed in.

Countries need to be supported to provide and promote alternative livelihoods for tobacco farmers, but the only effective response to the environmental effect of the tobacco industry is to reduce tobacco consumption.”

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