ASH Daily news for 14 August 2015


  • Stillbirths in England dropped by almost 8% since smoking ban
  • Warning to drivers as ban on smoking in cars approaches
  • Solihull: Illegal tobacco plan goes up in smoke
  • Smoking ban should be extended to outdoor areas, report says
  • Dying for a cigarette? Have a game of Tetris!
  • China: Nearly 90% of women exposed to passive smoking:
  • Ethiopia implements smoking ban

    Stillbirths in England dropped by almost 8% since smoking ban

    The number of babies dying shortly after birth has also dropped by almost 8%, according to the study. A team led by Edinburgh University looked at information on more than 10 million births in England between 1995 and 2011.

    The findings suggest that almost 1,500 stillbirths and newborn deaths were averted in the first four years after the law to prohibit smoking in public places was enacted on 1 July 2007.

    Research has previously shown that rates of premature births have dropped significantly in countries where smoke-free legislation has been introduced. The number of children being admitted to hospital for asthma attacks and severe respiratory infections has also fallen since the bans.

    Dr Jasper Been, honorary research fellow at Edinburgh University, said: “Currently only around 18% of the world’s population is protected by comprehensive smoke-free laws. Accelerated action to implement smoking bans in the many countries yet to do so is likely to save considerable numbers of young lives and bring a healthier future for our unborn children.”

    Professor Aziz Sheikh, co-director of the university’s Centre for Medical Informatics, said: “This study is further evidence of the potential power of smoke-free legislation to protect present and future generations from the devastating health consequences of smoking and second-hand exposure to tobacco smoke.”

    See also:
    – Stillbirths down since smoking ban, researchers say, BBC News [includes video]
    Lives of 1,400 babies saved in four years after smoking ban, The Times (£)
    – Infant mortality rate falls following public smoking ban, Nursing Times
    – Smoking ban saves hundreds of babies’ lives, Daily Mail
    – 8% fall in stillbirths linked to smoking ban, Yahoo! News/PA

    Source: The Guardian – 13 August 2015

    Warning to drivers as ban on smoking in cars approaches

    Drivers have been warned to make sure they know about the upcoming ban on smoking in cars.

    From October 1, it will be illegal for anyone to smoke in a vehicle which contains someone under the age of 18.

    The Department of Health has now launched a campaign to spread awareness of the new law, to ensure there is no sudden surge of fines this autumn.

    [includes video]

    Source: Lancashire Telegraph – 13 August 2015

    Solihull: Illegal tobacco plan goes up in smoke

    Solihull Council has seized more than 1.5 tonnes of illegal oral tobacco.

    Border Force contacted the Council’s Trading Standards team regarding a consignment of tobacco product received at Birmingham Airport. They suspected the product was oral tobacco, of a type that is banned in the UK.

    Council officers seized the full 1.64 tonnes of tobacco and sent a sample for analysis, confirming that the product was illegal oral tobacco.

    Before applying to the court for a forfeiture order, which would have forced the importer to relinquish the product, Trading Standards gave the importer the opportunity to sign the product over to them for destruction, which he has now done. The tobacco will be securely destroyed.

    Source: Solihull Observer – 13 August 2015

    Smoking ban should be extended to outdoor areas, report says

    Nicotine is no worse for you than coffee but the ban on smoking in public should be extended to outdoor areas, a report has said.

    The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) said the ban, introduced in 2007, had “de-normalised” smoking and creating further exclusion zones would make the habit more inconvenient for smokers.

    Pub gardens, school gates, parks and outdoor areas of restaurants should be on the list of smoke-free zones, the report insists.

    See also:
    – MP brands call to extend smoking ban to pub gardens and public parks ‘ludicrous’, Lancashire Telegraph
    – Beer garden smoke ban call has Wirral MEP fuming, Wirral Globe
    Scotland: Minister dismisses calls for smoking ban to be extended to outside licensed premises, Herald Scotland

    Source: The Independent – 13 August 2015

    Dying for a cigarette? Have a game of Tetris!

    Scientists have discovered the key to stopping cravings for cigarettes, food and even sex: playing the Tetris computer game.

    Psychologists asked dozens of students to report whenever they felt a craving and how strong the feeling was. Half of the participants were then given an iPad to play the block-shifting game Tetris. They found their cravings reduced by a fifth after 15 minutes of play.

    The researchers from Plymouth University hypothesise that playing the game works because it occupies the same mental processes used to imagine indulging in the craving. The week-long study, which also involved Queensland University of Technology, Australia, focused on 31 undergraduates, aged between 18 and 27.

    Source: Daily Mail – 13 August 2015

    China: Nearly 90% of women exposed to passive smoking:

    Even if they don’t light up themselves, 86.4 percent of women are exposed to cigarettes through passive smoking, with restaurants being the worst place, Chongqing Morning News reported on Thursday.

    Chongqing Medical University conducted a survey last month among 1,500 women who are passive smokers due to their proximity to a smoking partner or colleague.

    The survey shows 32.54 percent of them were exposed to passive smoking nearly every day, 22.61 percent over four to six days per week, and 31.8 percent one to three days. Only 13.76 percent were not exposed to passive smoking at all.

    The rate of passive smoking at restaurants and hotels came to 92.2 percent, which is significantly higher than in other places, including government buildings, 82.85 percent, and schools, 75.15 percent, survey organizers say.

    In addition, most non-smokers take a stand when they are exposed to second hand smoke; only four percent suffer in silence.

    The survey shows 27.98 percent of smokers would stub out a cigarette when they are discouraged from smoking by strangers, 58.88 percent would cooperate when they are persuaded to quit by family members, and only two percent would ignore suggestions.

    Source: China Daily – 14 August 2015

    Ethiopia implements smoking ban

    The Ethiopian parliament passed a law banning smoking in public places in 2014 and the town of Mekelle is the first city to implement it.

    The town of some 200,000 people is the state capital of the far northern Tigray region. Since January smoking has been banned in cafes, restaurants, schools and hospitals, as well as cultural, sports and religious centres.

    Those who break the ban face a fine of 1,000 Ethiopian birr ($50) fine, a small fortune in Ethiopia where salaries rarely exceed $100 a month.

    Mekelle is bucking the trend in Africa where tobacco use is increasing driven by companies that see a growing market on the continent amid a tightening of smoking laws elsewhere.

    Source: Yahoo!/AFP – 14 August 2015