ASH Daily News for 26 October 2016

  • Scotland: Number of 15-year-old smokers down 2%
  • Research suggests vaping could help prevent ex-smokers gaining weight
  • Teenagers influenced by video games with alcohol and smoking content
  • Botswana: Tobacco levy to fund anti-smoking initiatives
  • Malta: Ban on smoking in cars carrying children to come into force in January

Scotland: Number of 15-year-old smokers down 2%

The number of regular 15-year-old smokers has fallen to 7%, while the number of 13-year-olds has remained consistent at 2%.

The proportion of 15-year-olds smoking regularly fell 2% between 2013 and 2015, according to the latest Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (Salsus) which questioned 25,304 pupils at 264 schools.

The age that 15-year-olds first tried a cigarette has risen to 13 years and four months.

The schoolchildren reported a large increase in trying e-cigarettes, with 15% of 13-year-olds and 32% of 15-year-olds saying they had done so – but only 1% and 3% respectively used them regularly.

Sheila Duffy, Chief Executive of ASH Scotland said: “Fewer children than ever are now taking up smoking, putting us well on the way to a tobacco-free Scotland by 2034. We need to keep up the pressure so no child becomes addicted to tobacco, and make sure that the best help to quit is available for those who’ve already started.”

Source: The Evening Times – 25 October 2016
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Research suggests vaping could help prevent ex-smokers gaining weight

E-cigarettes might help smokers who are quitting keep the weight off, say researchers, suggesting that vaping could be harnessed in the fight against obesity.

Weight gain is often a key concern for smokers looking to quit, with individuals putting on an average of 5kg in their first year without cigarettes. While nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) can help to control weight gain and help smokers to quit, researchers have suggested that nicotine-containing e-cigarettes might be a better option.

The authors suggest that e-cigarettes, with their myriad flavours, could potentially help to tackle cravings for certain foods. What’s more, the study suggests that the physical processes involved in filling an e-cigarette could reduce the urge to eat.

“You are re-filling the e-liquids, you might be mixing your own liquids, you are trying different flavours, you are doing things with your hands that take up time which means maybe you are not reaching for the bowl of M&Ms,” said co-author Linda Bauld, Professor of health policy at the University of Stirling and Deputy Director of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies.

Amanda Sandford, from Action on Smoking and Health said: “The risk of putting on weight when quitting smoking is a common concern and can discourage smokers from trying to stop. E-cigarettes are a safer alternative to tobacco and if they can also help people avoid piling on the pounds as well as helping them to stop smoking that is a real bonus.”

See also:
Could Vaping be a New Weapon in the Battle of the Bulge?, Nicotine & Tobacco Research

Source: The Guardian – 25 October 2016
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Teenagers influenced by video games with alcohol and smoking content

Images and references to alcohol and tobacco in popular video games may be influencing UK teens who play the games and the age restriction system is not working, according to a new study.

The research examined the content of 32 UK best-selling video games of 2012/2013 and used YouGov survey tools to ask 1,094 UK teenagers aged 11-17 whether they had played any of the most popular video games identified as containing either tobacco or alcohol imagery. They were also asked whether and to what extent they smoked or drank alcohol.

The study found that adolescents who had played at least one game with tobacco or alcohol content were twice as likely to have tried smoking or consumed alcohol themselves, suggesting the video games could be influencing behaviour.

See also:
Alcohol and Tobacco Content in UK Video Games and Their Association with Alcohol and Tobacco Use Among Young People, Journal of Cyberpsychology, Behaviour, and Social Networking

Source: Scienmag – 25 October 2016
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Botswana: Tobacco levy to fund anti-smoking initiatives

The Ministry of Health and Wellness has set up a task team to consider how the tobacco levy could be channelled towards funding tobacco control activities, a senior health official has said.

Chief health officer, Setshwano Mokgweetsinyana told participants at the inaugural Anti-Tobacco Network (ATN) public lecture at the University of Botswana recently that communication would soon be issued detailing the criteria to access the funds.

The Government introduced the levy in 2014 with the objective of funding anti-tobacco initiatives and other related activities. The health ministry explained the development was in recognition of the contribution of tobacco as the main risk factor for a number of chronic diseases, including cancer, lung diseases and cardiovascular diseases.

Source: Mmegi Online – 25 October 2016
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Malta: Ban on smoking in cars carrying children to come into force in January

From January 2017 motorists will be fined 50 Euros for smoking in cars will children present.

The law will come into force on 1st January 2017 and will be preceded by an awareness campaign and a period of training for police officers and traffic wardens.

Passengers caught smoking will subject both themselves and the car driver to separate fines.

Source: Malta Today – 25 October 2016
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