ASH Daily News for 3 July 2018



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UK

  • New data shows that young adults in the UK are shunning smoking
  • Simon Stevens outlines new funding commitments to MPs
  • Royal College of Midwives Wales calls for more cash to stop pregnant women smoking

International

  • Study: US teens overestimate how much their peers use shisha pipes and this makes them more likely to try it themselves

UK

New data shows that young adults in the UK are shunning smoking

The latest Office for National Statistics data shows that the largest reduction in smoking prevalence since 2011 has been seen among 18 to 24-year-olds. Last year 17.8% of people in this age bracket said they were current smokers, the ONS said. This is compared to 2011 when more than a quarter of young adults (25.7%) classed themselves as smokers.

Across all age groups the number of British smokers has “significantly” fallen since 2016, the figures show. Overall 15.1% of Britons – or around 7.4 million people – were smokers in 2017. The new ONS report on adult smoking habits in the UK states: “The latest figure represents a significant reduction in the proportion of current smokers since 2016, when 15.8% smoked.”

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of health charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), said: “ASH supports the Government’s vision, set out in the Tobacco Control Plan for England, of a smoke-free generation. But smoking must become history for all of society not just for the wealthy. Cuts in public health funding and lack of treatment for smoking on the NHS mean poorer more heavily addicted smokers, including those who are pregnant, are not getting the help they need to quit.”

Source: ITV News, 3 July 2018

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Simon Stevens outlines new funding commitments to MPs

While giving evidence to the Health and Social Care Select Committee, Simon Stevens has talked about the importance of embedding support for smokers to quit in routine NHS care.

Funding from the NHS’s new settlement will be “earmarked” for cancer programmes including prostate, lung and colorectal cancer, the NHS England chief executive has told MPs at the health and social care select committee.

Simon Stevens also said the NHS would need to target resource on smoking cessation services beyond what councils provide. This followed a leading policy expert setting out a warning about the damage done to health outcomes by spending cuts to these services.

Alongside other headline goals already set out by the government like young people’s mental health services and addressing health inequalities, he also said the NHS would need to earmark resource for quit smoking services.

“It’s pretty clear we are going to have push harder on smoking, and smoking cessation is part of that. That can’t all be done through local authority commissioned services.” Stevens said.

“I think we are going to have to look at whether the NHS can imbed smoking cessation in more of the routine contacts we have with vulnerable groups who are smoking.”

Health Foundation director of research and economics Anita Charlesworth had told MPs earlier on in the session that spending on stop smoking services and tobacco control through local authority public health grants fell by a third in real terms since 2014-15.

The session also heard from a series of health sector leaders and think-tank chiefs who reiterated warnings that funding transformation inside a below four per cent real terms annual increase would be extremely challenging.

Simon Stevens was questioned about smoking on The Andrew Marr Show (52 minutes, 5 seconds in). He noted that the ‘war on smoking is definitely not won’. BBC iplayer, 1 July 2018

Source: HSJ (subscription only), 2 July 2018

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Royal College of Midwives Wales calls for more cash to stop pregnant women smoking

More investment is needed to help pregnant women quit smoking and manage their weight, the Royal College of Midwives Wales has said. Comparative figures from ASH Wales Cymru, suggest the percentage of women in Wales who smoked during pregnancy in 2010 (16%) was the highest of the British nations.

The Welsh Government said its Tobacco Control Delivery Plan was set up to provide more help to stop smoking. A recent Royal College of Midwives Wales motion called for a focus on measures to help pregnant women to ditch cigarettes.

Source: BBC News, 28 June 2018

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International

Study: US teens overestimate how much their peers use shisha pipes and this makes them more likely to try it themselves

Researchers have found that US teens typically overestimate the shisha smoking prevalence among their peers. The overall rate of teens who had tried shisha at least once in the study group was 10.5%. However 59.3% of students overestimated the shisha smoking prevalence in their year group.

“Adolescence is a critical developmental stage when youth are under pressure to fit in socially,” said lead study author Dr. Israel Agaku, a scientist at the Office on Smoking and Health at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.

“Peer pressure, along with frequent exposure to pro-tobacco advertising, may lead youth to believe that [shisha] smoking is far more common than it actually is,” Agaku said. “The likelihood of youth smoking [shisha] may increase if they believe that `everyone else is doing it’ even if that perception is inaccurate.”

Source: Reuters, 2 July 2018

See also: Pediatrics, Social Aspects of Hookah Smoking Among US Youth

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