ASH Daily News for 20 August 2015



HEADLINES

  • Stop Smoking Services: More support needed to help smokers quit
  • Yorkshire: Pregnant Leeds smokers are failing to quit smoking
  • Wales: Country remains at odds over electronic cigarettes
  • New research: Heavy smokers more likely to develop fat stomachs
  • Australia: Cancer Council Victoria fighting big tobacco over children’s survey data

    Stop Smoking Services: More support needed to help smokers quit

    Figures released by the Health & Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) yesterday show that the number of people using local Stop Smoking Services continued to decline in 2014/15. 450,000 people set a quit date through the services – down 23% on 2013/14. This is the first time the number has fallen for three consecutive years since they were set up in 2000/01.

    Hazel Cheeseman, director of policy at ASH, said NHS SSS “provide a vital service to smokers seeking help to quit” and are incredibly cost-effective, helping more than 20,000 people to achieve long-term abstinence over a 10-year period. They are also successful in attracting smokers from lower socio-economic groups where smoking prevalence is highest.”

    NCSCT executive director Dr Andy McEwen said: “Smoking remains the primary cause of premature death and preventable ill-health, causing misery to thousands of families and placing a huge burden on local health and social care services. The best way local authorities can address this is by investing in and supporting the local stop smoking services which are proven to be very cost effective.”

    Source: Guernsey Press, 19 August 2015
    Link: http://bit.ly/1hry7hA

    Yorkshire: Pregnant Leeds smokers are failing to quit smoking

    According to new data released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre yesterday, 50% of pregnant women in Leeds who pledged to stop smoking lost touch with stop smoking services or continued to smoke during their pregnancy. Of 144 pregnant women who set a stop smoking date between April 2014 and March this year 74 failed to quit or lost contact with the service.

    Dr Ian Cameron, the council’s director of public health, said: “Leeds and Yorkshire have made real progress with smoking cessation in recent years, but we know it is important to do more.”

    Source: Yorkshire Evening Post, 20 August 2015
    Link: http://bit.ly/1hrycC0

    Wales: Country remains at odds over electronic cigarettes

    The Welsh Government will continute to push forward restrictions on the use of electronic cigarettes in public places, after an independent report published by Public Health England (PHE) recommended their use for smokers looking to quit. The PHE report has received widespread approval from health organisations including the CIEH, the Faculty of Public Health and Cancer Research UK.

    A Bill giving Welsh ministers the power to ban use of the devices in enclosed public spaces was introduced in June.

    Graham Jukes, CIEH chief executive, said following the report the use of vaping devices would now be positively encouraged to “address the very real health benefits achieved by smokers using alternatives to tobacco”.

    “The issue being addressed in Wales addresses longer term behavioural change and potential perceived health effects for which there is valid concern but limited if not conflicting evidence,” he said.

    “The very real dilemma is that by restricting the use of vaping devices in the same way as we restrict the use of cigarette smoking we could undermine the major and proven evidenced based objective of encouraging and making it easier for smokers to switch.”

    “The passage of the Bill in Wales will allow that dilemma to be addressed and firm advice to be developed and implemented.”

    Source: Environmental Health News, 19 August 2015
    Link: http://bit.ly/1MznxjU

    New research: Heavy smokers more likely to develop fat stomachs

    University of Glasgow researchers have found that while smoking might be associated with lower overall weight, it tends to push fat into central areas resulting in a bigger stomach. The researchers analysed 29 studies involving almost 150,000 participants containing data on their smoking habits, weight and waist circumference.

    Source: Heavier smoking may lead to a relative increase in waist circumference: evidence for a causal relationship from a Mendelian randomisation meta-analysis, BMJ Open

    Source: Independent, 19 August 2015
    Link: http://ind.pn/1MFezDi

    Australia: Cancer Council Victoria fighting big tobacco over children’s survey data

    British American Tobacco is attempting to use FOI laws to gain access to taxpayer-funded research and surveys of children on their attitudes to cigarettes in Australia. The Cancer Council Victoria is fighting the application in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, which has so far cost thousands of dollars and is set to escalate as the case continues.

    Council chief executive Todd Harper said that the money and resources used to fight the case could be better spent on anti-smoking campaigns and education but added: “There are 14,000 lives lost every year due to tobacco, so whatever we have to spend to defend this sensitive data, it will be small by comparison to the devastating effect the tobacco industry has in our community. We recognise that data like this is sensitive and needs to be handled sensitively. We have a commitment to privacy and confidentiality to those who participated in the surveys.”

    See also:
    – Tobacco giant using FOI laws to gain Aussie schools’ survey data, 4BC News Talk
    Tobacco giant fights for research on kids, Radio New Zealand News

    Source: Magnet, 20 August 2015
    Link: http://bit.ly/1NGIHv0