ASH Daily News for 16 August 2018



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UK

  • Teenagers wrongly think vaping is as bad as smoking
  • Juul Labs may face barriers to UK market growth

International

  • US: Smokers better off quitting, even with weight gain
  • Report compares global cities’ air pollution levels to harm caused by tobacco

UK

Teenagers wrongly think vaping is as bad as smoking

New evidence from ASH shows that 28% of teenagers believe that vaping is as dangerous as smoking, compared to 11% five years ago.

Social media scare stories as well as misleading advice from doctors and teachers could have contributed to a general suspicion of vaping among young people. This is despite research published by Public Health England which shows that e-cigarettes are up to 95% less harmful than cigarettes.

Hazel Cheeseman, Director of Policy at ASH, said: “Given that young people are likely to consume news in the soundbite-heavy world of social media, it is not at all surprising the more complex message about relative risks are lost on them. We know the public in general also hold inaccurate beliefs about the harms from vaping which includes doctors, teachers and parents. I do think it’s important for young people to accurately understand that vaping is many magnitudes less risky than smoking.”

Source: The Times, 15 August, 2018

ASH: Use of electronic cigarettes (vapourisers) among children in Great Britain

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Juul Labs may face barriers to UK market growth

Juul Labs, the popular US e-cigarette manufacturer is set to exceed its initial sales target in the UK.

Juul holds 71% of the US e-cigarette market and launched in the UK last month. The popularity of the Juul e-cigarette has been partly attributed to its use of nicotine salts to deliver a faster ‘hit’ and its unique product design. Linda Bauld, professor of health policy at the University of Stirling said: “It’s a very slick, compact device in contrast to most vaping products.”

However, a tougher regulatory environment and greater competition could limit the company’s potential for replicating the kind of market dominance they hold in the US. UK and EU legislation bans almost all e-cigarette advertising and restricts the amount of nicotine in the products compared to the US. This combined with competition from existing tobacco companies and a number of smaller e-cig manufacturers could also present Juul with challenges.

Source: Financial Times, 15 August 2018

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International

US: Smokers better off quitting, even with weight gain

A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has found that smokers who gain weight after quitting still have better health outcomes than if they never quit.

Researchers from the Harvard-led study examined the prevalence of diabetes and other health conditions in people who quit smoking. They found that people who quit had a mild elevation in their risk of type 2 diabetes for up to six years after quitting but that this risk does not endure. Even the quitters who gained the most weight had a 50% lower risk of dying prematurely from heart disease or other causes, compared to smokers.

Doctor Qi Sun, one the study’s authors, said: “Regardless of the amount of weight gain, quitters always have a lower risk of dying [prematurely]”.

Source: AP News, 15 August 2018

The New England Journal of Medicine: Smoking Cessation, Weight Change, Type 2 Diabetes, and Mortality

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Report compares global cities’ air pollution levels to harm caused by tobacco

New research published by the European Transport and Environment Association (ETEA) ranks popular European tourist destinations according to their air pollution rates.

The researchers draw parallels about the impact of air pollution and smoking cigarettes in order to raise awareness about the less known risks of living in a big city. According to the ETEA a four day stay in Prague or Istanbul is equivalent to smoking 4 cigarettes, compared to London where four days is equivalent to smoking 2.75 cigarettes.

Source: Euronews, 13 August 2018

See also: ETEA Press Release

Editorial note: Comparing air pollution with smoking cigarettes could be problematic because it assumes the toxicity of particulate matter (PM2.5) from all sources is equivalent, which is not the case. Particulate matter from cigarettes is likely to be significantly more toxic than from the range of sources which contribute to air pollution (diesel/petrol combustion, wind-blown soil etc.). Additionally, air pollution exposure is spread fairly consistently over 24 hours, unlike smoking which is punctuated by very intense inhaled concentrations over short periods. It is likely that a short exposure to high amounts of particulate matter may cause cellular changes/health effects where a much lower, prolonged exposure does not.
Dr Sean Semple, Associate Professor at the Institute for Social Marketing at the University of Stirling

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