ASH Daily News for 27 June 2019



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UK

  • Cost of smoking to social housing tenants
  • Study: Smokers who switch to e-cigarettes could save more than £780 each year as well as lowering their risk of heart and lung disease
  • E-cigarettes: How safe are they?

International

  • US: Vaping ban ‘will push smokers back to tobacco’

UK

Cost of smoking to social housing tenants

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) has published new figures showing that 512,000 (or one in seven) social tenants could be lifted out of poverty if the money they spent on smoking was returned to the household. A third of those living in social housing smoke, around twice the national average, but a majority want to quit. ASH is urging social landlords to support their tenants by:

  • Providing information and advice on the financial gains of quitting or cutting down;
  • Working proactively with stop smoking services such as co-locating them in social accommodation;
  • Collaborating with local NHS and public health teams to ensure tenants are aware of available stop smoking support;
  • Identifying smokers, and asking whether they have been offered the advice and support they need to quit.

Ciaran Osborne, ASH Director of Policy, said: “Stopping smoking has enormous health benefits but also dramatically improves tenants’ and landlords’ finances. Most social housing tenants want to quit smoking and doing so can help them climb out of rent arrears and debt. If social landlords take a more proactive approach to supporting their tenants to quit, we all benefit.”

“It is not that people living in social housing do not want to quit smoking. In fact, social housing tenants are more likely to have tried to quit smoking in the last year than those living in any other type of housing,” said Osborne.

“However, they are less likely to succeed when they try – which is why we are urging landlords to help smokers help themselves,” he said.

Source: 24 Housing, 27 June 2019

ASH resource: Costs of smoking to social housing: The quitting dividend for tenants and landlords

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Study: Smokers who switch to e-cigarettes could save more than £780 each year as well as lowering their risk of heart and lung disease

A new study published in Addiction has revealed smokers spend around £1,200 per year on tobacco, while those who vape only spend £417 – almost a third of the price. The researchers calculate that smokers could save around £780 a year by switching to e-cigarettes. Ditching tobacco could, as well as reducing the risk of cancer, improve the health of someone’s wallet by saving it £13 each week. The researchers’ calculations are based on an average of smoking six cigarettes per day.

Researchers at University College London used data from surveys of 859 adults in England who either smoked or vaped. Those who still used cigarettes said they spent £23.09 in an average week, while former smokers who switched to other nicotine products spent £8.59. E-cigarettes were cheapest, costing £8.03, while other nicotine replacement such as patches or chewing gums were slightly more expensive at £10.05 per week.

Dr Sarah Jackson, the study’s lead author, said: “A third of smokers list cost as an important factor driving their desire to quit. Our study shows that if people switch completely to alternative products such as e-cigarettes or NRT, a substantial saving could be made.

While the absolute cost saving will vary according to individual usage patterns, we estimate that ex-smokers who have switched to e-cigarettes or NRT spend about £13-15 less per week than the average smoker. The costs of these products should therefore not discourage people from using them to help them quit smoking.”

Source: Daily Mail, 27 June 2019

Jackson et al. Expenditure on smoking and alternative nicotine delivery products: a population survey in England. Addiction. 26 June 2019.

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E-cigarettes: How safe are they?

E-cigarettes work by heating up a liquid that usually contains nicotine, propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerine, and flavourings. Users inhale the vapour produced, which contains nicotine – the addictive element in cigarettes. But nicotine is relatively harmless compared with the many poisonous chemicals contained in tobacco smoke, such as tar and carbon monoxide.

Nicotine does not cause cancer – unlike tobacco in normal cigarettes, which kills thousands of smokers every year. That’s why nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) has been used for many years by the NHS to help people stop smoking, in the form of gum, skin patches and sprays.

There is currently no evidence that vaping can harm other people. Compared with the proven harms of second-hand tobacco smoke, or passive smoking, the health risks of e-cigarette vapour are negligible.

In the UK, there are much tighter rules on the content of e-cigs than in the US. Nicotine content is capped, for example, whereas in the US it is not. The UK also has stricter regulations on how they are advertised, where they are sold and to whom – there is a ban on sale to under-18s, for example.

The UK is taking a very different approach to the US on e-cigarettes – but its position is very similar to that of Canada and New Zealand. The UK government views e-cigarettes as an important tool to help smokers give up their habit – and the NHS may even consider prescribing them free to those who want to quit.

There is no evidence e-cigarettes are acting as a gateway into smoking for young people.

Source: BBC News, 26 June 2019

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International

US: Vaping ban ‘will push smokers back to tobacco’

Medical experts have criticised the decision by San Francisco to ban the sale of all e-cigarettes, saying it could push adults back towards smoking tobacco. It will become the first major city in America to ban the sale of e-cigarettes, saying it is trying to curtail a rise in vaping among teenagers, which it calls an “epidemic”. Other cities and states have tried imposing their own restrictions. In Nebraska, the school district of Fairbury is forcing its students to submit to random nicotine testing if they want to take part in extracurricular activities.

Experts on nicotine addiction have been left baffled by the San Francisco ban, which they point out does not include the sale of normal cigarettes or even e-cigarettes filled with cannabis.

Neal Benowitz, an expert on nicotine and a professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), said he was “disappointed and frustrated” by the decision. He said: “We know that if a smoker decides to quit smoking using e-cigarettes, and uses e-cigarettes daily, e-cigarettes can be very helpful in aiding that quitting.”

Lynn Kozlowski, an expert on tobacco use and nicotine policy, and professor of health behaviour at the University of Buffalo, New York, said: “For cigarettes that are proven to kill three in five smokers prematurely to remain on the shelves, while a product that eliminates or dramatically reduces the toxins ingested is banned, is a bizarre public health act.”

Source: The Times, 27 June 2019

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