ASH Daily News for 29 August 2018



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UK

  • Major tobacco companies found to be secretly using social media influencers to advertise
  • Study: Teenagers who smoke and drink suffer ill effects by age of 17
  • Half of smokers throw cigarette ends down the drain despite pollution fears
  • Scotland: Prisoners to be offered free vaping kits ahead of tobacco ban

International

  • India’s health ministry warns against sales of e-cigarettes and heat-not-burn devices
  • Study: E-cigarette use may ameliorate the harm resulting from tobacco smoking in COPD patients, even in the long term

UK

Major tobacco companies found to be secretly using social media influencers to advertise

Tobacco companies are using social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to advertise cigarettes by secretly paying social media influencers to promote images of cigarettes and smoking. This circumvents rules implemented by social media platforms which ban paid advertising of tobacco products.

The two year investigation was carried out by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and consumer research firm Netnografica LLC. The findings have been detailed in a petition sent to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by nine leading public health and medical groups.

Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said: “Tobacco companies proclaim that they don’t target kids, but this investigation shows they are doing the exact opposite – and doing so with a level of sophistication that threatens to addict a new generation and set back progress in reducing smoking around the world.”

Source: Marketing Interactive, 28 August 2018

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Study: Teenagers who smoke and drink suffer ill effects by age of 17

A new study published in the European Heart Journal has found that teenagers who smoke and drink alcohol are causing visible damage to their arteries by the age of 17. These changes are linked with an increased risk of strokes and heart attacks in later life.

Researchers at University College London’s Institute of Cardiovascular Science studied smoking data from 1,266 youngsters between 2004 and 2008, and conducted tests to discover if there had been any stiffening of their arteries.

Professor Metin Avkiran, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, which part-funded the research, said: “It’s never too late to make changes that may literally end up saving your life. This study suggests that the damage to arteries can occur even in the young, leading to serious trouble later on in life. Quitting smoking is the single best thing you can do to protect your heart.”

Source: BBC, 29 August 2018

European Heart Journal: Early vascular damage from smoking and alcohol in teenage years: the ALSPAC study

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Half of smokers throw cigarette ends down the drain despite pollution fears

Research conducted by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy found that 52% of smokers believe that it is acceptable to discard cigarette butts down the drain. A further 11% did not even consider cigarette butts to be litter.

39% of smokers said they had discarded a cigarette butt down the drain during the last month, compared to 77% who said that they were concerned that toxins from their cigarettes cause significant harm to marine life.

Allison Ogden-Newton, chief executive at the Keep Britain Tidy, said: “While flicking a cigarette down the drain may not seem harmful, we need to ensure smokers understand that this has a direct and often drastic impact on wildlife. We need to challenge this view [that discarding cigarettes in this way is acceptable] and get the message to smokers that this is still littering.”

Source: Daily Mail, 29 August 2018

See also: Littered cigarette butts are poisoning our oceans.

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Scotland: Prisoners to be offered free vaping kits ahead of tobacco ban

Prisoners who smoke will be offered vaping kits as Scotland’s jails prepare to go smokefree this Autumn. The £200,000 scheme is intended to support inmates to quit smoking and will commence at the beginning of November, before the smoking ban comes into force at the end of the month.

Over 70% of Scotland’s inmates are believed to smoke, with that figure rising to up to 95% for female inmates. The upcoming smokefree initiative was prompted by recent evidence highlighting high levels of exposure to second-hand smoke in prisons.

Tom Fox, spokesman for the Scottish Prison Service, said: “After the 30th of November, there will be nowhere in our prisons where anyone will be able to smoke…we are recognising the unique nature of that environment by providing [this] support.”

Source: BBC, 29 August 2018

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International

India’s health ministry warns against sales of e-cigarettes and heat-not-burn devices

On Tuesday, India’s federal health ministry sent an advisory to state governments warning them about the potential risks of e-cigarettes and heat-not-burn devices such as Philip Morris International’s IQOS device.

The health ministry is concerned that these devices could act as a gateway into cigarette smoking for children and non-smokers, stating that they are: “a great health risk to [the] public at large, especially to children, adolescents, pregnant women and women of reproductive age”.

India has 106 million adult smokers and tobacco use kills over 900,000 people every year.

Source: Reuters, 28 August 2018

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Study: E-cigarette use may ameliorate the harm resulting from tobacco smoking in COPD patients, even in the long term

New research published in the International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease suggests that e-cigarette use may ameliorate some of the harm resulting from tobacco smoking in patients with COPD.

The researchers compared changes in respiratory parameters for 44 COPD patients, half of whom had either quit or dramatically reduced their smoking rate by switching to e-cigarettes, and half of whom were current smokers not using e-cigarettes.

According to the authors: “the results may provide preliminary evidence that long-term use of e-cigarettes is unlikely to result in substantial health concerns in COPD patients. Quitting smoking is a key strategy not only to prevent the onset of COPD but also to stop its progression to more severe disease stages. Given that many COPD patients continue smoking despite their symptoms, the e-cigarette could be an effective and safe alternative to tobacco cigarettes in this vulnerable population.”

Source: PR Newswire, 29 August 2018

International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: Health effects in COPD smokers who switch to electronic cigarettes: a retrospective-prospective 3-year follow-up

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