ASH Daily News for 16 August 2016



  • Standardised ‘plain’ cigarette packs make their debut

    Plain cigarette packs are starting to appear on convenience store shelves three months after legislation banning the manufacturing of branded packs came into effect.

    However, Mike Dorey of Eastcombe Stores who has been selling the new packs for several weeks believes people are more concerned about other changes to tobacco stocks. He said: “I don’t expect plain packaging to cause much of an issue, it’s the loss of small pouches and packs that will cause the problem. The outlay for smokers is going to be so much more once they have to buy the larger formats and I’m sure it will prompt a shift in shopping habits.”

    Source: Convenience Store 15 August 2016

  • Light smokers still face serious health risks

    It’s estimated that 2% of Britain’s adult population fall into the category of ‘social smokers’ and it is thought they smoke on average less than one cigarette a day.

    These people are now being warned that while for some health conditions, such as cancer, the risk largely corresponds to how much you smoke; for other problems, including heart attacks and strokes, even one cigarette can make a big difference.

    A Finnish study of more than 65,000 people found those who smoked 20 cigarettes a day had a high risk of developing a common and deadly type of stroke caused by a brain bleed. But so, too, did those who smoked between one and ten.

    Researchers found that these lower-level smokers had around a three times greater risk than people who didn’t smoke at all. Women have a higher risk than men with the researchers suggesting that smoking even one cigarette a day regularly reduces oestrogen levels, which disrupts collagen (a protein that helps maintain the structure of blood vessels and skin) making the blood vessels weaker, and increasing inflammation in vessel walls.

    Robert West, a professor of health psychology at University College London says the term ‘social smoking’ is a misnomer. “Whether you smoke socially or not is not the issue, it’s the toxic chemicals you are inhaling. Averaging five cigarettes a day — over a week or in one go has the same effect on health, it comes down to the amount of toxins your body is exposed to.”

    Source: The Mail Online 16 August 2016

  • Yorkshire: Airedale Hospital in scheme to cut number of pregnant smokers

    Airedale Hospital is involved in a new scheme aimed at cutting the number of women who continue to smoke during pregnancy.

    The babyClear programme, created by the Tobacco Control Collaborating Centre, will see all midwives at both the Steeton hospital and Bradford Royal Infirmary given new kit and special training.

    They will use scanners to test all pregnant women for levels of carbon monoxide during their routine early appointments. If high levels are found, the mother-to-be will be referred to the district’s Stop Smoking Service.

    Anyone who still continues to smoke will then see a specialist stop-smoking midwife for a more intensive intervention.

    Source: Keighley News – 14 August 2016

  • Ireland: New tobacco legislation to be introduced

    The Department of Health is to introduce on-the-spot fines for retailers who sell cigarettes to minors, and that information will then be published online. There will also be a ban on tobacco products being sold from self-service vending machines as well as temporary or mobile units.

    Following a public consultation, the department is preparing the draft heads of a Bill which will impose tougher penalties for those who sell the products illegally. The proposed legislation will allow for the introduction of minimum suspension periods for retailers convicted of offences.

    A new annual licensing system will be introduced for the sale of tobacco and related products including e-cigarettes and other non-medicinal nicotine delivery systems. This will replace the retail register currently in operation.

    Source: The Irish Times 16 August 2016

  • Ireland: Ban on cigarette vending machines may be challenged

    The largest supplier of cigarette vending machines in Ireland, Tobaccoland, said that it may pursue legal action against the State if the Government proceeds with plans to ban the machines.

    There are 6,000 cigarette machines in pubs, nightclubs and hotels around the country and those who supply and fit the appliances claim that 145 jobs will be lost if the ban is introduced.

    In a statement, the Department of Health said 15 European member states have already enforced similar measures and vending machines by their very presence help to advertise and promote tobacco products.

    Source: RET News 16 August 2016

  • Finland: Travelling longer distances to tobacco shops tied to better odds of quitting

    Having to walk further from home to get to a tobacco shop increases the odds that smokers will quit, according a large study in Finland.

    Researchers found that every 500 metres (about one third of a mile) increase in distance to the nearest tobacco shop increased an individual’s odds of quitting by 20% to 60%.

    The researchers combined the results of two previous studies that together included more than 20,000 smokers and former smokers. Participants completed smoking behaviour surveys twice, three to nine years apart, and the researchers geocoded their residential addresses and locations of the nearest tobacco outlet.

    Between surveys, 39% of study participants had also changed residential address.Those who moved at least 500 metres further from a tobacco outlet were about 16% more likely to quit than people who remained at the same distance from the nearest shop.

    On the individual level, a person who moved 500 meters further away during the study was 57% more likely to quit after the move, even when the researchers accounted for marriage, health status and changes in financial situation that might affect risk for smoking relapse.

    “We anticipated that distance to a tobacco shop may play a role in smoking habits,” said senior author Dr. Mika Kivimaki of University College London and the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health in Helsinki. “But it was a surprise that the association was so strong.”

    The full research can be accessed here.

    Source: Reuters 15 August 2016

  • Norway: Accumulation of material and lifestyle problems among daily smokers from 1999 to 2013

    Daily smokers are generally worse off than occasional smokers and non-smokers combined. However, the accumulation of material problems and health-risk behaviours by daily smokers and occasional smokers/non-smokers did not change significantly and all groups had fewer problems in 2013 than in 1999.

    Source: BMC – 12 August 2016