ASH Daily News for 16 November 2018



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UK

  • Give all smokers tobacco dependence treatment on the NHS, medics say
  • Public Health England to integrate with NHS England regions
  • Study: Friends and family increase the risk of children becoming smokers in the UK

International

  • US: FDA will ban the sale of most flavoured e-cigarettes at convenience stores
  • Big tobacco’s new marketing push: Smartphones, style and EDM

Link of the week

  • NIHR call for research: Tobacco cessation, control and harm reduction interventions

UK

Give all smokers tobacco dependence treatment on the NHS, medics say

The NHS should ensure that every smoker it cares for is given “tobacco dependence treatment”, doctors representing the medical Royal Colleges have said. In a letter published in The BMJ, the experts argue that treatment for tobacco dependency is one of the most cost-effective healthcare interventions as it would reduce the demand on the health service.

The letter said: “Stopping smoking improves life expectancy and quality of life for every patient… NHS England must now ensure that treatment for tobacco dependence is integral to the long-term plan. This is vital not just for the health and wellbeing of individual smokers and their families, but also for the sustainability of the NHS and the wider social care system.” The letter was signed by over 800 doctors, healthcare professionals and academics representing a range of medical Royal Colleges and health organisations.

Mr Stevens said: “We welcome this support from leading doctors for continued action to reduce smoking, building on the thousands of patients who have received advice or other help as a result of checks made in hospitals. As well as the ‘quit smoking’ services which local authorities are responsible for providing, the NHS Long-Term Plan is looking at how we can supplement that with more support for patients when they are being treated in the NHS.”

See also: BMJ – Open letter to Simon Stevens to ensure that tobacco dependence treatment is provided for every smoker cared for by the NHS, as part of the long term plan

Source: Evening Standard, 15 November 2018

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Public Health England to integrate with NHS England regions

Public Health England will integrate with the new NHS England regions by adding a director of public health in each of the seven localities, PHE’s chief executive has said. The public health directors will continue to be paid by PHE but report directly to the NHS England regional directors, Duncan Selbie told HSJ. Each of the seven regions will integrate NHS Improvement and NHS England’s operations with the directors being “a single reporting line from each region” to both NHS bodies.

PHE currently divides the country into four regions, each subdivided into centres, that are responsible for local public health operations. The national body has “organised our regions and centres around how local government [is] organised, and that will remain,” Mr Selbie explained. “This is us re-purposing our existing people. PHE is one third cheaper than it was five years ago. No one’s coming along and giving me new money for PHE so we’re using what we have because we think this really, really matters.” This application of limited resources will extend into spending on prevention by public health services in England and by the NHS in the long-term plan, Mr Selbie added.

The new health and social care secretary Matt Hancock last week set out his vision for prevention, while the NHS leadership has made it clear prevention will be at the heart of NHS planning over the next decade. Mr Selbie has co-lead on the prevention workstream, helping develop the NHS long-term plan. Tobacco control has been a priority for the prevention workstream and will be the headline intervention when the plan is published, he said. The health secretary’s vision for prevention cited the “Ottawa model” for creating a tariff for smoking cessation throughout hospital care pathways.

See also: DHSC – Prevention is better than cure: our vision to help you live well for longer

Source: Health Services Journal, 16 November 2018

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Study: Friends and family increase the risk of children becoming smokers in the UK

Teenagers whose mothers smoked during pregnancy, or whose parents or friends smoke, are more likely to smoke themselves. According to the researchers, the findings highlight the ‘transmissible’ nature of tobacco smoking and support the need for measures to cut smoking rates among pregnant women as well as protecting children from smoking in the home.

Teenagers whose caregivers smoked were more than twice as likely to have ever smoked themselves. 26% of teens whose main caregiver smoked said they had tried cigarettes and 5% said they were current smokers, compared with 11% and 1% among those whose caregivers did not smoke.

The analysis also revealed that approximately one in every three early teens (35%) who reported that their friends smoked had tried cigarettes themselves, compared with just 4% of those whose friends did not smoke. The risk of being a smoker was also shown to increase for children as the proportion of their friends who smoked increases.

See also: Smoking uptake in UK children: analysis of the UK Millennium Cohort Study

Source: Imperial College London, 16 November 2018

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International

US: FDA will ban the sale of most flavoured e-cigarettes at convenience stores

The FDA announced on Thursday (15th November) sweeping new restrictions on flavoured tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.

The much-anticipated announcement will mean that only tobacco, mint and menthol e-cigarette flavours can be sold at most traditional retail outlets such as convenience stores. Other fruity or sweet flavoured varieties can now only be sold at age-restricted stores or through online retailers that use age-verification checks. The FDA also plans to seek a ban on menthol cigarettes, a longtime goal of public health advocates, as well as flavoured cigars.

See also:
The Guardian – FDA announces sweeping anti-smoking measures to target teen vaping
The New York Times – FDA seeks restrictions on teens’ access to flavored e-cigarettes and a ban on menthol cigarettes

Source: Reuters, 15 November 2018

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Big tobacco’s new marketing push: Smartphones, style and EDM

An investigative report by Engadget and Point looks into the new tactics used by BAT and other tobacco companies to promote their products worldwide.

The investigation touches on a range of issues including the use of ‘lifestyle brands’, music events and social media to indirectly promote tobacco industry products.

The article explains that despite their malicious appearance and questionable practice, many of these indirect promotional routes appear to be legal. Chief executive of ASH Deborah Arnott explains the use of a social media app used to promote Dunhill cigarettes in the article: “My view would be that because of the aspirational nature of the promotion that it’s aimed very much at a youth audience and people who are not yet smoking — not just existing smokers…To survive [tobacco companies] have got to get new smokers, because they’re killing globally 6 million people a year…Those are smokers they [tobacco companies] need to replace in order to carry on making profits.”

Source: Engadget, 14 November 2018

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Link of the week

NIHR call for research: Tobacco cessation, control and harm reduction interventions

The National Institute for Health Research is calling for new tobacco research applications. Four different funding programmes are available with differing focuses across ‘Public Health Research’, ‘Health Technology Assessment’, ‘Health Services and Delivery Research’ and ‘Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation’. The calls for all relate to ‘tobacco cessation, control and harm reduction interventions’.

Links:
1. Tobacco cessation, control and harm reduction interventions (public health research)
2. Tobacco cessation, control and harm reduction interventions (health technology assessment)
3. Tobacco cessation, control and harm reduction interventions (health services and delivery research)
4. Tobacco cessation, control and harm reduction interventions (efficacy and mechanism evaluation)