ASH Daily News for 8 May 2018



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UK

  • Public Health Director evaluates the effects of Public Health’s transition to local authorities – 5 years on
  • UK government ‘closely monitoring’ e-cigarette refills that resemble children’s treats
  • Tower Hamlets: Campaign to help Muslims quit smoking before Ramadan launches
  • Leicester: Ban on smoking and availability of spice blamed for rise in violence at prison
  • Suffolk: Local Authority advertise for new tobacco control job despite continued ties with tobacco industry

International

  • USA: Study finds smokefree laws help young adults’ hearts
  • Australia: Hundreds of people as young as 30 are dying due to cigarettes in Victoria

UK

Public Health Director evaluates the effects of Public Health’s transition to local authorities – 5 years on

Director of Public Health in Newcastle, Eugene Milne explores the pros and cons of the transition of Public Health from the NHS to local authorities in England. He reflects on the last 5 years for Public Health, in light of local authority funding cuts.

Source: BMJ Opinion, 3 May 2018

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UK government ‘closely monitoring’ e-cigarette refills that resemble children’s treats

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is “closely monitoring” firms selling e-cigarette liquids in England that look like children’s juice, sweets and biscuits after a major crackdown by the US Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA recently discovered a range of e-cigarettes liquids which resemble “kid-friendly food products”, with “cartoon like imagery” and names such as ‘Candy King’, ‘Pink Sticks’, ‘V’Nilla cookies & milk’, and ‘Twirly Pop’. The Pharmaceutical Journal confirmed that a number of the products involved are also available to buy in the UK.

After being told that these products were being sold in the UK, by The Pharmaceutical Journal, a spokesperson for the DHSC said that while current evidence suggests that uptake of e-cigarettes among young people is very low, it will “continue to monitor this area very closely”.

See also: The Pharmaceutical Journal article

Source: Daily Mail, 5 May 2018

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Tower Hamlets: Campaign to help Muslims quit smoking before Ramadan launches

A campaign launched by Tower Hamlets Council invites Muslims in the community to sign up to ‘Quit Tobacco Before Ramadan’ for help and support to quit smoking and chewing tobacco in the lead-up to Ramadan. This year Ramadan will start in the evening on May 15 and end on June 14.

The initiative is part of Tower Hamlet’s own specialist tobacco cessation service, called ‘Quit Right Tower Hamlets’, which was launched back in August 2017 as the BME Stop Tobacco Project and the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit merged together.

Dr  Somen Banerjee, Director of Public Health, said: “As Ramadan is a time for abstaining from addictive substances, quitting before it begins is a great way to kick-start your health and benefit from reducing your risk of lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke. “Local stop smoking advisers are always available, but they will be even more accessible over the next two weeks to offer advice on free services and quitting options.”

Source: East London Lines, 4 May 2018

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Leicester: Ban on smoking and availability of spice blamed for rise in violence at prison

Leicester Prison experienced a rise in violence including assaults on staff after inmates were banned from smoking, according to an inspection report.

The Welford Road jail became strictly non-smoking on July 24 last year. According to a report by independent inspectors, this led to “a general irritability and truculence” among inmates.

The continued availability of illegal so-called new psychoactive substances, such as Spice, also contributed to a record number of violent incidents in 2017. Last year, there were 102 ‘prisoner on prisoner’ assaults, compared to 60 in 2016. Staff were assaulted 112 times in 2017, the highest figure on record, while in 2016 the total was a then-record 78.

In their report, the inspectors wrote: “Violence has been unpredictable, but there was a temporary rise clearly associated with smoking cessation on 24th July”.

Source: Leicester Mercury, 7 May 2018

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Suffolk: Local Authority advertise for new tobacco control job despite continued ties with tobacco industry

Suffolk Local Authority is advertising on the Suffolk Jobs Direct website for a Health Improvement Commissioner (Tobacco and NHS Health Checks) at a salary of £36,930. The job description contains a link to the council’s recruitment brochure which mentions the pension scheme, but not its investment of £33 million in tobacco companies.

The council voted overwhelmingly to disinvest in tobacco companies, but after taking legal advice the Pension Fund Committee, which also includes other authorities, decided this would not be possible.

Source: The Lowsoft Journal, 5 May 2018

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International

USA: Study finds smokefree laws help young adults’ hearts

A new study has found that laws and policies that prohibit smoking in workplaces and other public areas appear to significantly lower the risk of cardiovascular disease among a group of young adults who were followed over a 20-year span.

The study findings are consistent with previous studies that found health benefits as a result of smoke-free policies, including lower risks of heart- and lung-related illnesses and diseases.

However, the new research, published May 7 in the American Heart Association journal Circulation, is believed to be the first to follow and capture specific details about thousands of young adults over a period of several decades.

The results showed that smokefree policies in restaurants and bars were associated with about a 25% lower risk of a cardiovascular incident, such as a heart attack or stroke, according to the study. Such policies in workplaces were linked to a 46% lower risk.

See also: Associations of Bar and Restaurant Smoking Bans with Smoking Behavior in the CARDIA Study: A 25-Year Study

Source: Medical Express, 7 May 2018

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Australia: Hundreds of people as young as 30 are dying due to cigarettes in Victoria

Smoking is killing people as young as 30, a new analysis from the Victorian Health Department shows.

In 2011 smoking killed 24 Victorians in their 30s and 155 in their 40s, according to the report, which analyses data collected for the most recent Australian Burden of Disease study.

The report highlights the fact that smoking isn’t just a threat to older people, says the director of Quit Victoria, Dr Sarah White. ‘We’ve known for decades that tobacco is deadly, but this new analysis shows how cigarettes are killing people in our local communities at a much younger age than a lot of people realise,’ Dr White said.

Dr White said one factor behind the figures was that tobacco companies were using innovative strategies to advertise to younger Australians. ‘We’re seeing tobacco companies using underhand tactics to make smoking hip again for young adults and distract them from quitting… The health consequences of smoking will catch up with them, and it might be sooner than they realise.’

Source: Mail on Sunday, 7 May 2018

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