ASH Daily News for 29 September 2016



  • North-East to host inaugural conference to discuss alcohol and tobacco addiction
  • West Norfolk: Kids able to buy cigarettes at ‘pocket money’ prices
  • Smoke-free play zones gain popular support
  • Smoking fathers increase asthma-risk in future offspring
  • Internal ‘ageing clock’ influences lifespan
  • USA: Tobacco 21 Movement Reaches 200 Milestone
  • Holland: Over 1,000 people sign up for criminal case against tobacco industry

North-East to host inaugural conference to discuss alcohol and tobacco addiction

Public health experts have gathered in Newcastle to discuss tobacco and alcohol issues that cost the NHS millions of pounds annually. The first national conference of its kind will bring together organisations deemed to be leading the way in tackling addiction.

The conference will be jointly hosed by Balance, the North-East’s alcohol office, and Fresh, the regional tobacco control office, alongside the national Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies.

Ailsa Rutter, director of Fresh, said: “Falls in death rates from major diseases linked to smoking is just one example of where our region is improving faster than anywhere else in the country. This is making a real difference to real lives. Still though, every year, too many people are watching their loved ones suffer and die an early death from smoking. More questions need to be asked about the role of the industries who profit so much but cause so much ill health.”

Meanwhile the North East remains the only region to have seen consistent falls in alcohol-related hospital admissions with a five per cent drop in the area, compared to a five per cent increase nationally.

See also:
How drinking and smoking epidemics have hit the North East – and what to do about it, The Chronicle Live

Source: The Northern Echo – 28 September 2016
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West Norfolk: Kids able to buy cigarettes at ‘pocket money’ prices

Sales of illicit tobacco in West Norfolk are enabling children to buy cigarettes at what are being described as pocket money prices.

Norfolk’s Trading Standards are starting a new campaign using sniffer dogs to combat criminals selling these products.

The campaign was announced by Margaret Dewsbury, Chairman of Norfolk County Council’s Communities Committee. She said: “Our campaign aims to raise awareness that illegal tobacco is not a victimless crime, but is a serious threat to our youngest citizens and their future health and wellbeing, that it harms neighbourhoods and brings crime into local communities, … we are ready to respond to any intelligence we receive.”

Source: KL.FM – 28 September 2016
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Smoke-free play zones gain popular support

Calls for voluntary no-smoking zones near where children play or learn have been met with enthusiasm and have been widely reported.

The CIEH called for the zones after research carried out on its behalf by YouGov found 89 per cent of adults in Britain would support a smoking ban in children’s play areas and 57 per cent would support a smoking ban in public parks.

Ian Gray, CIEH principle policy officer, said: ‘It’s extremely popular, our own survey and many other surveys indicate that upwards of 80 per cent of people including smokers support no smoking areas, particularly when they are play areas or at education, for example at the school gates.”

The YouGov poll also found parents who smoke are much less likely to smoke in front of their children in places like home (27 per cent) or in the car (13 per cent). Some 45 per cent smoke in front of their children when they are away from the home in pub gardens. A similar percentage – 42 per cent – smoke in front of their children while in public spaces such as parks and playgrounds.

Some 56 per cent of those surveyed said they thought more ought to be done to raise awareness of the need for smoke-free public places.

Source: Environmental Health News – 28 September 2016
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Smoking fathers increase asthma-risk in future offspring

New research has shown that fathers who smoke prior to conception increase the risk of non-allergic early onset asthma in their children. The risks were higher in fathers who had started smoking before age 15, even if they stopped more than 5 years before fathering a child.

“Offspring with a father who smoked only prior to conception had over three times more early-onset asthma than those whose father had never smoked,” says Professor Cecilie Svanes at the Centre for International Health, Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care, University of Bergen (UiB).

This association was not seen if fathers started smoking after birth and maternal smoking prior to conception was not seen to predict offspring asthma.

The full research published in the International Journal of Epidemiology can be accessed here.

Source: Scienmag – 28 September 2016
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Internal ‘ageing clock’ influences lifespan

New research has found the strongest evidence yet for an internal ageing clock, responsible for making some people age quicker and die younger even if they have a healthy lifestyle.

A higher biological age, regardless of actual age, was consistently linked to an earlier death, the study found. For the 5% of the population who age fastest, this translated to a roughly 50% greater than average risk of death at any age.

Interestingly, the biological changes linked to ageing are potentially reversible, raising the prospect of future treatments that could arrest the ageing process and extend the human lifespan.

However, the scientists found that known health indicators, such as smoking, blood pressure and weight, were still more valuable in predicting life expectancy in the 2,700 participants who had died since the study began, but that their underlying aging rate also had a significant effect.

Source: The Guardian – 28 September 2016
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USA: Tobacco 21 Movement Reaches 200 Milestone

Tobacco 21, the campaign to raise the age of sale for tobacco to 21, reached a significant milestone this week as at least 200 cities and counties across the United States have now enacted laws prohibiting the sale of tobacco products to anyone under 21 years.

California and Hawaii have enacted state-wide legislation while similar state-wide legislation is being considered by Massachusetts, New Jersey and Washington state, as well as in Washington, D.C. Federal legislation has also been introduced by Senator Brian Schatz and Representative Diana DeGette.

Matthew Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids said: “Increasing the tobacco age to 21 will reduce tobacco use among youth and young adult age groups when nearly all tobacco use begins and that are heavily targeted by the tobacco industry. Nationally, about 95 percent of adult smokers began smoking before they turned 21. If we can keep them from smoking as kids, then most will never start.”

Source: Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids – 28 September 2016
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Holland: Over 1,000 people sign up for criminal case against tobacco industry

Over 1,000 Dutch cancer patients and smokers have signed up to support a criminal damages claim against the tobacco industry, the Financieele Dagblad said on Wednesday, 28th September.

The Sick of Smoking foundation was formed in April this year to put together a class action campaign against the industry on behalf of patients. The aim is not to win damages, but to ensure ‘the tobacco industry really starts behaving differently,’ the FD said.

Source: Dutch News – 28 September 2016
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