ASH Daily News for 16 November 2016

  • Budget cuts to services that help people quit smoking could have devastating impact
  • Campaign to highlight Scotland’s car smoking ban
  • USA: New research suggests teenagers with asthma are more likely to smoke
  • USA: New study shows racial and ethnic variations in quitline reach among US smokers
  • USA: Florida smoking rates on the decline
  • Study suggests drinking red wine before smoking could prevent some short term vascular damage

Budget cuts to services that help people quit smoking could have ‘devastating impact’

New research published by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) and Cancer Research UK has found that cuts to public health budgets are putting councils under enormous pressure to deliver services on ever smaller budgets.

In half of the 129 councils surveyed budgets for stop smoking services have been cut by 5% or more over the last year. Many have also been forced to cut budgets for broader tobacco control work such as tackling illicit tobacco trade and dissuading young people from starting smoking.

The report further revealed that one in five local authorities had replaced their specialist stop smoking service with a broader lifestyle advice service. However, the authors warn there is limited evidence that these types of services are effective for smoking cessation without specialist staff.

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of ASH said: “Our research shows that most local authorities remain committed to reducing smoking but key services are under threat from ongoing funding cuts. Meanwhile, the tobacco industry continues to reap huge profits from a product that kills around 100,000 people every year in the UK and is responsible for half the difference in life expectancy between the rich and the poor. If the Prime Minister is to succeed in her ambition to improve the life chances of the poorest in society the government must take action to ensure that local authorities have the tools and the funding they need to continue to provide specialist stop smoking services as part of a tobacco control strategy targeted at those with greatest need.”

See also:
Stop-smoking services under threat as budgets are cut, Medical X Press
North West smokers at risk due to government cuts, Rochdale Online

Source: The Sun – 16 November 2016
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Campaign to highlight Scotland’s car smoking ban

A new law banning smoking in vehicles carrying anyone under the age of 18 is due to come into force in Scotland on 5th December 2016.

Ahead of the law’s introduction, a mass media campaign has been launched to highlight the dangers of secondhand smoke to children, especially in enclosed spaces, and the penalties drivers could face for breaking the law.

MSPs voted unanimously in favour of a change in the law after former Liberal Democrat MSP Jim Hume introduced the Smoking Prohibition (Children in Motor Vehicles) Bill last year.

Aileen Campbell, Minister for Public Health and Sport said: “It is never safe to smoke in a car carrying a child and the aim of this legislation is to ensure the health of children in Scotland is protected.”

Source: BBC News – 15 November 2016
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USA: New research says teenagers with asthma are more likely to smoke

A new study presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting, has found that teenagers with asthma are notably more likely to smoke than their peers.

“The study found 22 percent of the kids with asthma smoked, while only 12 percent of kids without asthma smoked,” said allergist Bradley Chipps, MD, ACAAI Fellow, and asthma expert. Researchers found that curiosity and a desire to experiment were the main reasons why teenagers started smoking.

Researchers examined questionnaires from over 3,300 teenagers aged 13 – 19 and then divided this group into those with and without asthma. Data from the group with asthma showed that those who began smoking before age 11 continued to smoke primarily because they believed that smoking reduced their levels of stress and anxiety.

Abstract: Epidemiological profile of smoking and nicotine addiction among asthmatic adolescents, Francisco Vazquez-Nava, PhD

Source: Medical News Today – 15 November 2016
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USA: New study shows racial and ethnic variations in quitline reach among US smokers

Quitlines which provide free smoking cessation advice and support appear to be reaching minority groups which traditionally under utilise cessation treatments and have high smoking prevalence.

Researchers used a database of over 1.2 million quitline callers from across 45 states to determine the reach of the service.

Through comparing the number of quitline callers to the number of tobacco users in a particular minority group, the study shows that quitline reach was highest for American Indians or Alaskan Natives in 27 states, for African Americans in 14 states, and for non-Hispanic whites in 4 states.

The researchers thus observed that quitline support was reaching minority populations, however, the overall reach still remains low with variation still being observed along racial and ethnic lines.

See also:
– Race/Ethnic Variations in Quitline Use Among US Adult Tobacco Users in 45 States, 2011–2013, Oxford Journals

Source: Sceinmag – 15 November 2016
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USA: Florida smoking rates on the decline

State health officials have announced that Florida has seen a dramatic decrease in smoking rates over the past decade. According to new figures from Tobacco Free Florida the smoking rate has declined from 21% in 2006 to 15.8% in 2015.

The smoking rate among young people has also fallen notably from 10.6% in 2006 to 3% by 2016. Tobacco Free Futures says that this decline in smoking rates has saved an estimated $17.7 billion in healthcare costs and that there are now approximately 451,000 fewer smokers than there were 10 years ago.

Source: WCTV News – 15 November 2016
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Study suggests drinking red wine before smoking could prevent some short term vascular damage

A new report to be published in The American Journal of Medicine has found that drinking a glass of red wine before smoking can counteract some of the short-term negative effects of smoking on blood vessels.

Researchers investigated the effects of smoking on the blood and arteries of 20 healthy-non-smokers who volunteered to inhale from three cigarettes. Half the participants had a drink of red wine one hour before smoking, consuming an amount calculated to produce a blood alcohol level of 0.75%.

The researchers then compared the effects of smoking on participants in each group and observed that those in the wine drinking group did not release micro-particles from artery walls, platelets and white blood cells which are known to indicate smoking damage.

The wine also appeared to reduce levels of inflammation and affect enzyme reactions. Telomerase, an enzyme which protects cells against aging is known to be affected by smoking. In the non-drinking group telomerase activity fell by 56%, however, in the wine drinking group telomerase activity only fell by 20%.

Lead researcher Dr Schwarz and co-researchers emphasised that they do not intend to motivate occasional smokers to drink or occasional drinkers to smoke. Further, since the study was limited to young, healthy non-smokers, it is not clear whether these findings apply to the elderly, the ill, or chronic smokers.

See also:
Red Wine Prevents the Acute Negative Vascular Effects of Smoking, American Journal of Medicine

Source: Alpha Galileo – 15 November 2016
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