ASH Daily news for 18 November 2015



  • Quitting can reverse effects of smoking
  • Smoking to blame for 60 house fires a year in South Yorkshire
  • Roadshow helps keep Bolton healthy – and celebrates 500,000th visitor
  • US: Obama has stuck to his promise about cigarettes
  • Pharmacy researcher developing nicotine vaccine
  • Parliamentary Debate – Health and Poverty

    Quitting can reverse effects of smoking

    According to a new large study, giving up smoking, even in middle age, helps to reverse the harmful effects it has on the brain.

    Scientists have discovered that smoking accelerates the thinning of the outer layer of the brain that takes place as a normal part of ageing. This thinning can compromise important thinking skills, such as planning, decision making and problem solving.

    However, after scanning the brains of hundreds of older people, scientists have found that participants who had given up smoking had a thicker cortex than those who had just quit, suggesting a degree of recovery.

    The research adds more weight to existing evidence showing a strong connection between smoking, brain decline and an increased risk of dementia.

    See also:
    Smoking speeds up brain ageing, research shows
    Smoking accelerates normal brain ageing in ways that can impair thinking, research reveals 

    Source: The Times, 18th November 2015 (£)

    Smoking to blame for 60 house fires a year in South Yorkshire

    Smoking is the main cause of accidental house fires in South Yorkshire, new figures reveal.

    Fire chiefs have analysed annual call-out statistics and discovered that while accidental house fires are reducing, those caused by smoking amount to around 60 per year.

    Trevor Bernard, Head of Community Safety at South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, said: “Smoking remains one of the biggest causes of accidental house fires, but nearly all of these can be avoided by following some simple rules.

    “Never smoke in bed, never leave a lit cigarette unattended, always ensure that cigarettes are put out properly and keep lighters and matches out of the reach of children.”

    Source: Worksop Guardian, 18th November 2015

    Roadshow helps keep Bolton healthy – and celebrates 500,000th visitor

    A cancer awareness roadshow rolled into Bolton, Lancashire – and clocked up its 500,000th visitor.

    The Cancer Research UK Cancer Awareness bus, staffed by nurses and volunteers, is helping to raise awareness among people in Bolton about how to reduce the risk of cancer.

    People visiting the bus are able to access tips on healthy lifestyles and get a body mass index (BMI) test to check if they are a healthy weight or a smokerlyzer test to check the carbon monoxide levels in their body.

    Source: This Is Lancashire, 17th November 2015

    US: Obama has stuck to his promise about cigarettes

    President Barack Obama vowed to quit smoking once the Affordable Care Act passed. In a recent interview, Obama revealed that he has not smoked a single cigarette since the health care bill passed.

    Obama said: “I made a promise that once health care passed, I would never have a cigarette again. And I have not.”

    Source: UK Business Insider, 17th November 2015

    Pharmacy researcher developing nicotine vaccine

    A researcher at the University of Rhode Island is developing a nicotine vaccine and accompanying drug delivery system that he believes could lead to one of the most effective methods of combating cigarette smoking and other tobacco use.

    Xinyuan Chen, an assistant professor of biomedical and pharmaceutical sciences, said his laboratory at URI was developing a laser-based delivery system for a powdered vaccine to improve nicotine vaccine effectiveness. Chen added: “There is no vaccine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for smoking.”

    Nicotine vaccines have been studied by other researchers, but none are in use yet.

    Source: Medical Xpress, 17th November 2015

    Parliamentary Debate – Health and Poverty

    The following is an extract from the Parliamentary debate on health problems:

    Peter Grant, Scottish National Party

    Is the Minister aware of work produced by, for example, Sir Harry Burns, the former chief medical officer of Scotland, which clearly indicates that although there is a very strong link between poverty and poor health, that link is not inevitable and should not be allowed to become inevitable? What are the Government doing to change policy, so that that link can be broken?

    Jane Ellison, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

    I have already given some examples of the work the Government are doing to tackle health inequalities in our nation. Let me give the hon. Gentleman another practical example. The burden of disease that tobacco brings falls disproportionately on poor communities. As well as the action that we have taken on standardised packaging and on smoking in cars with children, we are committed to a new tobacco strategy. I have said publicly that at the heart of the strategy there must be effective action to look at the areas in which the effect of tobacco falls most heavily—disadvantaged communities. We are taking practical action to close gaps in health outcomes in a range of ways.

    Source: Hansard Citation: HC Deb, 17 November 2015, c513