ASH Daily News for 13 March 2019



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UK

  • Philip Morris criticised for National No Smoking Day appearance
  • New support offered to pregnant smokers as part of No Smoking Day
  • Quit rates in Lancashire above regional average

International

  • Tobacco stocks slump due to pension fund exits
  • Global health of adolescents worse than ever before with growing inequalities

 

UK

Philip Morris criticised for National No Smoking Day appearance

This morning, Philip Morris managing director Peter Nixon has appeared on Good Morning Britain to urge people to stop smoking cigarettes and instead switch to their new heated tobacco products, which he claims are less harmful.

However, his appearance, which coincides with National No Smoking Day was branded a ‘joke’ by host Piers Morgan, who questioned the ‘staggering hypocrisy’ of the company urging smokers in the UK to quit whilst spending nearly £94million on cigarette advertising targeted at young children in countries with fewer tobacco regulations.

Mr Nixon insisted he was committed to reducing the 100,000 deaths caused by smoking in the UK every year, but later admitted his annual bonus was dependent on the sales of alternative tobacco products.

Source: The Daily Mail, 13 March 2019

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New support offered to pregnant smokers as part of No Smoking Day

Mothers who plan to have their babies at Ipswich Hospital are being offered extra support to stop smoking following the launch of a new service as part of national No Smoking Day. The service is provided in partnership with OneLife Suffolk as part of the “Saving Babies Lives” care bundle, which aims to cut rates of still birth by 20% by 2020 particularly by reducing smoking rates.

The new service will see specially trained smoking cessation midwives offer support to both pregnant smokers and their friends and family.

Dr Amanda Jones, Suffolk County Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “Stopping smoking if you are pregnant is of great benefit to both the mother and baby. Public Health Suffolk works with OneLife Suffolk and, through successful working relationships with Suffolk hospitals, has increased the number of women referred from the maternity departments”.

Source: East Anglian Daily Times, 13 March 2019

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Quit rates in Lancashire above regional average

The NHS stop smoking services in Lancashire reported a quit rate of 48% last year, 2% above the North West regional average. From April to September 2018 nearly 5,000 people in signed up to the stop smoking service and at follow up meetings 4 weeks later, just under half self-reported as having stopped smoking. This is below the national average of 51% but above the average of 46% for the North West.

Rachael Hodges, policy officer at the British Lung Foundation said that smokers are far more likely to quit if they seek support. She added “We call for the government to increase public health funding to local authorities so they can continue to fund these vital services”.

Source: Fleetwood Weekly News, 12 March 2019

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International

Tobacco stocks slump due to pension fund exits

British American Tobacco (BAT) and Philip Morris International (PMI) share prices have lost their world beating status due to European pension funds and insurers divesting their holdings. BAT suffered its worst year on record last year with share prices falling 50%.

Prompted by the set up of Tobacco Free Portfolios, a non-profit organisation, that encourages pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, banks and insurers to stop investing in tobacco, multiple insurers have stopped investing in the sector citing health, environmental and ethical concerns.

Source: Bloomberg 13 March 2019

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Global health of adolescents worse than ever before with growing inequalities

A global study commissioned by The Lancet has found that the health and wellbeing of young people aged 10-24 face growing inequalities and greater challenges compared to 25 years ago. The study measured wellbeing by tracking the progress of 12 indicators in 195 countries, including health risks such as smoking and obesity and social issues that impact health such as child marriage and education.

With regards to smoking, it was found that there was an overall decrease in smoking prevalence of 20% compared to 25 years ago. However, the proportion of smokers in more deprived countries increased substantially compared to more economically developed ones. Further, the global prevalence of smoking among males was still over 10% compared to females who increased to 7%.

The study concluded that investment in adolescent health had not kept pace with population needs, due to the slow pace of the introduction of health improvement programmes, education and legal protection. The authors have recommended that the 12 indicators used to measure health and wellbeing should be used to agree new targets for improvement via comprehensive and integrated investment.

Source: EurekAltert! 12 March 2019

See study: Our future: a Lancet commission on adolescent health and wellbeing

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