ASH Daily News for 26 June 2018



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Release of RCP report and newspaper responses

  • Royal College of Physicians (RCP): ‘Hiding in plain sight, Treating tobacco dependency in the NHS’
  • The Times – coverage of RCP report: Help smokers quit, doctors tell hospitals
  • The Independent – coverage of RCP report: NHS staff smokers cost health service £200m a year with cigarette breaks and sick days, report finds
  • Daily Mail – coverage of RCP report: Patients ‘should be recommended e-cigarettes as a way to quit smoking and be allowed to use them at hospitals’

UK

  • Wales: Ospreys back anti-smoking campaign at sports grounds

International

  • Child labour rampant in tobacco industry
  • BMJ blog: The Kuala Lumpur Charter on Smoke-Free Homes

Release of RCP report and newspaper responses

Royal College of Physicians (RCP) releases ‘Hiding in plain sight, Treating tobacco dependency in the NHS’

Hiding in plain sight: Treating tobacco dependency in the NHS demonstrates that clinicians working in almost all areas of medicine will see their patients’ problems improved by quitting smoking, and that systematic intervention is a cost-effective means of both improving health and reducing demand on NHS services. Smoking cessation is not just about prevention. For many diseases, smoking cessation represents effective treatment.

It calls on doctors to recognise that recognising and treating tobacco dependence is their business, and to incorporate smoking cessation as a systematic and opt-out component of all NHS services, delivered in smoke-free settings.

Source: Royal College of Physicians, 26 June 2018

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The Times – coverage of RCP report: Help smokers quit, doctors tell hospitals

The NHS’s failure to help smokers quit is “as negligent as not treating cancer”, top doctors say.

Sanjay Agrawal said: “This is an open goal for the NHS. We can save lives and save money by applying simple effective treatments in the same way that we do for millions of other patients — these treatments are very low cost. The changes would be pretty straightforward to make and we would start reaping the benefits in the first year, taking some of the strain off the NHS. The changes we have recommended have been tried and tested in the UK and Canada and have made a significant impact, so it’s time to apply this approach across the NHS.”

Smokers “put a particular strain on the NHS”, the college warned, with a 36% greater likelihood of being admitted to hospital.

Professor John Britton, chairman of the Tobacco Advisory Group, said: “Smoking, the biggest avoidable cause of death and disability in the UK, is hiding in plain sight in our hospitals and other NHS services; the NHS must end the neglect of this huge opportunity to improve our nation’s health.”

Source: The Times, 26 June 2018

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The Independent – coverage of RCP report: NHS staff smokers cost health service £200m a year with cigarette breaks and sick days, report finds

Lost productivity from smoking breaks alone cost £99m with total per smoker approaching £3,000 a year.

NHS staff smoking habits cost the health service more than £200m a year in cigarette breaks, sick days and treatment, a report on the £1bn a year avoidable cost of tobacco dependency has found.

There are more than 73,000 smokers among the 1.2 million NHS employees in England and the lost working hours from their combined smoking breaks add up to £99m a year, the Royal College of Physicians’ tobacco advisory group has said.

Smokers also had 56 per cent more sick days, amounting to £101m in NHS costs, and cost £6m in treating staff with preventable diseases caused by tobacco. In total, the RCP panel said, this amounts to £2,800 per staff smoker.

Professor John Britton, the chair of the RCP tobacco advisory group, told The Independent: “The NHS must end the neglect of this huge opportunity to improve our nation’s health.”

Source: The Independent, 26 June 2018

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Daily Mail – coverage of RCP report: Patients ‘should be recommended e-cigarettes as a way to quit smoking and be allowed to use them at hospitals’

Patients should be recommended e-cigarettes as a way to quit smoking and be allowed to use them at hospitals, doctors’ leaders say. They are calling for patients to be routinely offered help in kicking the habit at GP appointments, outpatient clinics and when admitted to hospital.

The NHS’s failure to help smokers quit is as serious as not treating cancer patients, they added. The recommendations have been drawn up by the Royal College of Physicians which has accused the NHS of being ‘negligent’ in not doing enough to help smokers quit.

Source: Daily Mail, 26 June 2018

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UK

Ospreys back anti-smoking campaign at sports grounds across Wales

The Welsh rugby club Ospreys have put their weight behind a campaign by ASH Wales for local sport clubs to adopt no smoking policy at their playing fields. Although most Welsh stadiums have become smokefree zones, many grounds where children train and play have yet to follow suit.

The Ospreys in the Community will work with the charity to encourage regional clubs to adopt a no smoking policy with the aim of protecting young players from being influenced to smoke.
The club will promote the initiative at a beach rugby festival in front of 600 kids.

Source: ITV News, 26 June 2018

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International

Child labour rampant in tobacco industry

Child labour in tobacco is widespread and on the increase in poorer countries, a major Guardian investigation has revealed, in spite of claims by multi billion-dollar companies that they are tackling the issue.

Evidence from three continents shows how children aged 14 and under are kept out of school and employed in hard and sometimes harmful physical labour to produce the tobacco leaf that fills cigarettes sold internationally, including in the UK, US and mainland Europe.

Families are trapped in generational poverty while salaries at the top of the industry run to millions of dollars a year. The companies say they monitor child labour and remove children from the fields to go to school, but experts have told the Guardian that the numbers are going up, not down, as tobacco growing increases in Africa and Asia.

Source: The Guardian, 25 June 2018

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BMJ blog: The Kuala Lumpur Charter on Smoke-Free Homes

In accordance with article 8 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, governments, health practitioners and wider society all have a duty to protect non-smokers from the harms caused by second-hand tobacco smoke (SHS) exposure. Considerable attention over the past two decades has been given to implementing smoke-free public spaces and workplaces in many countries.

However, there is the risk that the tobacco control and wider public health research community now wrongly perceives that the ‘SHS exposure problem’ has been successfully resolved and no longer requires international attention. It is possible that this has caused a widening in exposure inequality with adults in countries where smoke-free laws are comprehensive benefitting most while children in poorer communities in those countries where smoke-free laws are partial or poorly enforced have seen almost no improvement.

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