ASH Daily News for 27 February 2017



  • Campaign launched for ‘tobacco-free’ NHS by Public Health England
  • Test all pregnant women for smoking – PHE
  • Fresh re-launches campaign urging smokers to quit
  • Canada: Call for smoking age to be raised from 18 to 21
  • Spain: Study finds lower smoke exposure in several public, private settings following smoking bans
  • South Africa: SARS suspends “last Jedi”

Campaign launched for ‘tobacco-free’ NHS by Public Health England

A campaign for a complete ban on smoking in all NHS buildings and grounds has been launched by Public Health England (PHE).

PHE said a “tobacco-free NHS” would encourage patients, visitors and staff to give up the habit, along with more support to help them quit. Many hospitals are already smoke-free in their buildings and grounds but some people still flout the rules.

Duncan Selbie, chief executive of PHE, said “25% of patients in hospital are smokers,” and a smoke-free environment would be beneficial for everyone.

See also:
NHS ‘tobacco free’ campaign launched by Public Health England, BBC News
NHS seeks ban on smoking in hospital grounds, The Times (£)

Source: ITV – 26 February 2017
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Test all pregnant women for smoking – PHE

Public Health England (PHE) is urging hospitals to give every pregnant woman a carbon monoxide test to see if they smoke, as part of an NHS-wide drive to persuade patients to kick the habit.

Public Health England Chief Executive Duncan Selbie is calling for midwives and nurses to routinely screen mothers-to-be when their pregnancy is first “booked”, monitoring at all their antenatal appointments, and support for those who want to quit.

Hospitals would also ban smoking shelters used by staff and patients, hand out nicotine gum and patches and include helping smokers to quit in patients’ treatment plans under PHE’s plans. PHE also wants doctors and nurses to use their conversations with patients to advise them how to give up tobacco or encourage them to switch to e-cigarettes instead.

Source: The Observer – 26 February 2017
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Fresh re-launches campaign urging smokers to quit

Smokers who have cut down on their habit are still at risk of health issues, campaigners say. Fresh has re-launched its Don’t be the 1 campaign, which warns that half of all long-term smokers will die from smoking unless they quit.

Source: News Guardian – 24 February 2017
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Canada: Call for smoking age to be raised from 18 to 21

Canadian scientists are calling for a rise in the age of sale of tobacco from 18 to 21 to protect youngsters.

The Canadian task force on Preventive Health Care said raising it to 21 would see a quarter less smokers and urged lawmakers to change the rules to reduce related deaths and illnesses.

The call was made as new guidelines were introduced to help children quit by encouraging family doctors to take a more active role.

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of ASH, said: “The vast majority of smokers become addicted before the age of 21 while the human brain is still developing, and if you don’t start by 21 you’re very unlikely to ever become a smoker.”

See also:
A fresh approach to tobacco control: raising the minimum legal age for access, Canadian Medical Association Journal

Source: Scottish Sun – 27 February 2017
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Spain: Study finds lower smoke exposure in several public, private settings following smoking bans

Exposure to secondhand smoke has long been associated with negative health effects. A study of secondhand smoke exposure after two smoking bans in Spain, publishing today in Nicotine & Tobacco Research, suggests that overall exposure can be decreased across all settings by comprehensive legislation.

The authors reviewed approximately 2,500 adult non-smokers’ self-reported rates of tobacco smoke exposure in several public and private settings following smoking bans in 2006 and 2011. The survey results showed significantly lower exposure following the second law, with participants reporting their overall exposure falling from 72% in 2006 to 45% in 2011. Exposure decreased across all locations surveyed, beyond the workplaces and hospitality settings covered by the 2011 legislation. For example, exposure also decreased in residences from 29% to 13% and in transport from 41% to 13%.

Source: News Medical – 27 February 2017
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South Africa: SARS suspends “last Jedi”

The tax authority’s investigation into South Africa’s tobacco industry has taken another twist with the suspension of possibly the most experienced customs investigator at SARS, Kumaran Moodley.

Described by insiders as one of “the last Jedi” at the troubled revenue service, Moodley heads the Tactical Intervention Unit (TIU), which investigates customs and border offences.

The unit was part of the controversial Project Honey Badger investigation into the illicit tobacco industry that has claimed the heads of senior SARS investigators. According to the book Rogue, written by former SARS head of investigations Johann van Loggerenberg and spokesperson Adrian Lackay, the tobacco investigation led to a viscous backlash at SARS against the so-called “rogue unit”. Moodley was the last team member of Honey Badger still left at SARS.

Moodley’s unit is understood to have been busy with numerous investigations into the tobacco industry and into Mpisi Trading, which is linked to President Jacob Zuma’s family.

Source: Dublin News – 27 February 2017
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