ASH Daily News for 26 September 2018



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UK

  • New UK eye health map
  • Life expectancy progress in UK ‘stops for first time’
  • NICE talks: How do we help people quit smoking?
  • North East: Newcastle shopkeeper fined for selling knock-off cigarettes

International

  • Australia: North Sydney smoking ban
  • Australia: Unhealthy lifestyle responsible for 45,000 predicted cases of bowel cancer in next decade
  • US: FDA considers ban on online e-cigarette sales

UK

New UK eye health map

A new eye health map of the UK has highlighted that poor lifestyle habits and inadequate health screening are putting people at ‘serious risk’ of sight loss. The map details the towns and cities in the UK with the highest risk of avoidable sight loss due to low uptake of eye tests and high prevalence of poor lifestyle.

London boroughs have the highest concentration of ‘very high’ risk, as well as Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield, while the risk across Scotland is mostly ‘very low.’ The map correlates factors associated with avoidable sight loss, such as smoking.

Chairman of Eye Health UK, David Cartwright, said: “We are seeing a worrying number of people failing to take up their entitlement to free NHS sight tests and displaying high levels of smoking and obesity – two lifestyle factors linked to sight loss.”

Source: Optometry Today, 25 September 2018

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Life expectancy progress in UK ‘stops for first time’

Life expectancy in the UK has stopped improving for the first time since 1982, when figures began. Women’s life expectancy from birth remains 82.9 years and for men it is 79.2, the figures from the Office for National Statistics, for 2015-17, show. In some parts of the UK, life expectancy has even decreased. For men and women in Scotland and Wales, it declined by more than a month. Men in Northern Ireland have seen a similar fall. For women in Northern Ireland, and for men and women in England, life expectancy at birth is unchanged.

It is not clear what is driving the trend, but some academics have argued that government austerity policies, such as cuts to social care budgets in England, must have played a part. Stephen Evans, professor of pharmacoepidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said “We still do not know how much this is a result of … a failure to go on improving smoking cessation or other preventive measures.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokeswoman said: “As part of our long-term plan for the health service, we are taking action to help people live longer and healthier lives – cancer survival is at a record high while smoking rates are at an all-time low – backed by our additional funding of an extra £20.5bn a year by 2023-24, which will transform care for cancer and other chronic diseases.”

Source: BBC, 25 September 2018

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NICE talks: How do we help people quit smoking?

In this episode, Martin Dockrell, Tobacco Control Programme Lead from Public Health England, talks about the best interventions to help people quit smoking and the truth about e-cigarettes.

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North East: Newcastle shopkeeper fined for selling knock-off cigarettes

A Newcastle shopkeeper who was caught selling knock-off cigarettes has been fined £1 million. This was part of an HMRC crackdown which has seen penalties amounting to £11,550,060 being issued around the country.

Source: Chronicle Live, 24 September 2018

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International

Australia: North Sydney smoking ban

North Sydney councillors this week unanimously passed a motion to ban smoking in all public places in Sydney’s second-largest central business district (CBD). The proposal now goes to community consultation, but Mayor Jilly Gibson reckons the community will back what may be the nation’s first CBD-wide smoking ban in a capital city.

The Mayor hopes to eventually make North Sydney the first smokefree municipality. “Why not try these big ideas?” she said. “Even if we reduce people’s smoking in the CBD by, let’s say, 50%, that would be a huge result.”

She said the latest move was not about punishing smokers but about improving the amenity of the area for residents, workers, visitors and school children. Since behaviour change is at the heart of the proposal, the Mayor said she expected the ban would be enforced through encouragement rather than fines.

See also:
Mail on Sunday, North Sydney to ban lighting up on the street – becoming the country’s first smoke-free district

Source: This Is Money, 25 September 2018

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Australia: Unhealthy lifestyle responsible for 45,000 predicted cases of bowel cancer in next decade

A new study has shown that adopting a healthy lifestyle could prevent a large proportion of bowel cancers in Australia – particularly for men.

It found that current rates of smoking, being overweight, and excessive alcohol consumption could lead to 45,000 cases of bowel cancer over the next 10 years. The researchers found that 11% of the future bowel cancer burden can be attributed to ever-smoking, and 4% to current smoking.

The researchers also found an interesting interplay between smoking and alcohol: the bowel cancer burden attributable to smoking was significantly exacerbated by excessive alcohol consumption, and vice-versa.

See also:
Cancer Spectrum, The Future Colorectal Cancer Burden Attributable to Modifiable Behaviors: A Pooled Cohort Study

Source: Medical Xpress, 25 September 2018

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US: FDA considers ban on online e-cigarette sales

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering banning online e-cigarette sales, according to Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.

It’s “on the table” and is something the agency is “very clearly looking at it,” Gottlieb said in Washington, during a panel discussion on vaping hosted by Axios. This comes just weeks after Gottlieb dubbed youth use of e-cigarettes an “epidemic” and announced a historic crackdown.

Under Gottlieb, the FDA has taken the position that e-cigarettes are a less harmful alternative for adult smokers who can’t or don’t want to quit smoking conventional cigarettes. However, Gottlieb has said that can’t come at the expense of addicting an entire new generation to nicotine as vaping rises in popularity with teens.

Source: CNBC, 25 September 2018

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