ASH Daily News for 24 September 2018



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UK

  • Warning on link between multiple sclerosis and smoking
  • Obesity to overtake smoking as biggest preventable cause of cancer in women by 2043
  • Opinion: RIP smoking, a lethal pastime. But strangely, some of us will mourn it

International

  • Global treaty against illicit tobacco trade kicks in this week
  • Study: ‘Heat-not-burn’ devices still damage lungs

UK

Warning on link between multiple sclerosis and smoking

The link between smoking and multiple sclerosis (MS) is “clearer than ever”, with those who smoke more likely to develop the condition and become disabled more quickly, a charity has warned.

The MS Society said it has completed a major evidence review into the connection between smoking and the chronic lifelong and disabling condition, which affects the brain and spinal cord and has no cure. One study found that quitting smoking could delay the onset of secondary progressive MS – a form of the condition that has no treatment – by as much as eight years.

Ahead of October’s ‘Stoptober’ campaign, the MS society is warning that smoking can make MS more active and speed up the accumulation of disability.

Source: Evening Express (Aberdeen), 24 September 2018

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Obesity to overtake smoking as biggest preventable cause of cancer in women by 2043

A report by Cancer Research UK has concluded that by 2043, excess weight could cause more cancers in women in the UK than smoking. Being overweight/obese is currently the second biggest cause of cancer in the UK, accounting for 6% of cases in 2015.

Currently for UK females, 12% of cancer cases are caused by smoking and 7% caused by obesity – only a 5-percentage point gap between the causes. A ‘takeover’ of obesity as the principle risk factor for male cancers is likely to happen much later; smoking is currently estimated to cause almost twice as many cancers as excess weight in men.

A spokesman for NHS England said: “Obesity is… one of the greatest public health challenges of our generation, placing people at much greater risk of cancers, heart attacks and other killer conditions as well as Type 2 diabetes.”

Source: Metro, 24 September 2018

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Opinion: RIP smoking, a lethal pastime. But strangely, some of us will mourn it

Stuart Evers, author of Ten Stories About Smoking, writes about smoking.

“According to Public Health England, smokers will soon be “eradicated”: the last smoker in the country quitting by the year 2030.

Despite less than 15% of adults admitting to being smokers, to me, 12 years to full abstinence seems rather fleet for a community not known for its speed. The cultural pull of tobacco, its hardiness in the face of hostility, may be weaker than it once was – those who would have smoked until they dropped are mostly now fogged in clouds of vape – but its survival instincts are those of a cockroach in the aftermath of an atomic strike. Eleven years ago, I watched as pubs erected smoking shelters for the incoming smoking ban; I don’t see them pulling them down in the near future.

For cigarettes are the grand delusion. Smoke one and you think you’re Audrey, Marlon, Winona; but more likely you are Farage – wheezing, gusting into smokefree zones with your sweet-sour stink, gazed at pityingly by the given-up and never smoked. But it doesn’t matter, you keep on. Keep up the ghost of your youth, show off your streak of non-conformity. Though they become mundane, a part of a routine, cigarettes still have that magic, that transformative power. It’s why people daily, gladly, inch themselves closer to the grave.

We will not mourn the passing of so lethal a pastime; an activity that has killed so many friends, family and lovers. And yet some of us will miss it so. The contradictions of the smoker!”

Source: The Guardian, 24 September 2018

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International

Global treaty against illicit tobacco trade kicks in this week

A global treaty to tackle the illegal tobacco trade kicks in this week, with the World Health Organization hailing it as “game-changing” in eliminating widespread health-hazardous and criminal activity.

The Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products achieved the 40 ratifications needed for it to take effect in June and will come into force on Tuesday 25 September. About 10% of the global cigarette market is estimated to go through illicit trade, according to Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva, who heads the FCTC secretariat.

Source: New Vision, 24 September 2018

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Study: ‘Heat-not-burn’ devices still damage lungs

Researchers have analysed data submitted by Philip Morris International to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The data was submitted when the company was trying to win regulatory approval to market its I-Quit-Ordinary Smoking (IQOS) product as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes.

The data shows that when smokers switched from traditional cigarettes to “heat-not-burn” devices, there was no evidence of improvements in lung function or reductions in inflammation that can signal tobacco-related blood vessel damage.

“Even if a patient could switch completely from regular cigarettes to heat-not-burn products, Philip Morris International’s own data shows that there will continue to be significant health risks associated with these products,” said lead study author Dr. Farzad Moazed of the University of California, San Francisco.

See also: BMJ Tobacco Control, Assessment of industry data on pulmonary and immunosuppressive effects of IQOS

Source: Reuters, 21 September 2018

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