ASH Daily News for 8 November 2018



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UK

  • Study: Smoking and diabetes increase heart attack risk more in women
  • RMT union bosses criticised over investment of union funds in tobacco, banking and privatised water
  • Leeds: Mobile lung cancer screening project launched

International

  • Opinion: Why the maker of Marlboro cigarettes just quit part of the vape market

 

UK

Study: Smoking and diabetes increase heart attack risk more in women

Women who smoke, have diabetes or high blood pressure increase their risk of a heart attack more than men faced with the same risks, a large study of UK adults has found. The researchers, writing in the BMJ, said women should receive the same treatments as men and be offered support to stop smoking. Doctors should also be better at spotting female patients at risk. Men are still three times more likely than women to have a heart attack.

The study, led by Oxford University researchers, tracked nearly 500,000 people aged 40-69 enrolled in the UK Biobank database. Over seven years, 5,081 people had their first heart attack and one in three of them were women.

Although the risk of having a heart attack is lower in women than in men of all ages, certain risk factors appeared to have a greater impact on women. Women who smoked were three times more likely to have a heart attack than women who did not smoke – but in men, smoking only doubled their risk.

See also: Sex differences in risk factors for myocardial infarction: cohort study of UK Biobank participants

Source: BBC, 8 November 2018

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RMT union bosses criticised over investment of union funds in tobacco, banking and privatised water

The RMT union has an investment portfolio worth nearly £20 million. It includes £627,000 worth of shares in British American Tobacco and further investments in major banks, private energy and water companies. The criticism comes as RMT and Aslef workers strike on London underground lines.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH, said it was “disappointing” that a union was investing in the tobacco industry. “They should look at it again, not only to protect their members’ health but also for the health of their investment fund. Tobacco investments are not doing so well these days.”

Source: The Evening Standard, 7 November 2018

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Leeds: Mobile lung cancer screening project launched

A new mobile screening trial in Leeds designed to help detect the early signs of lung cancer could lead to a national screening programme being launched to save more lives. GPs will be inviting around 7,000 smokers and ex-smokers to take part in the Leeds Lung Health Check project.

The Yorkshire Cancer Research-funded scans will be carried out in a mobile unit based in supermarket car parks and shopping centres. The project has been developed in partnership with Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, the University of Leeds and Leeds City Council. Dr Kathryn Scott, chief executive at Yorkshire Cancer Research, said: “As well as saving lives, this trial will provide vital evidence that may help the government decide how to introduce a national lung cancer screening programme in the UK.”

Dr Mat Callister, consultant in respiratory medicine at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We’re trying to find people who would otherwise arrive in our clinics in two or three years’ time with advanced cancer, and instead pick up their cancer at an early stage when we can cure their disease and save their lives.”

Source: Yorkshire Evening Post, 6 November 2018

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International

Opinion: Why the maker of Marlboro cigarettes just quit part of the vape market

Jordan Waldrep writes in Forbes about “Altria’s [producers of Marlboro cigarettes in the U.S] announcement on October 25th that they would discontinue most of their flavoured e-cigarettes and provide support for a 21-year-old age limit for tobacco and vaping products” amidst ongoing investigations and pressure from the FDA into e-cigarette producers following concerns about teen vaping.

Waldrep continues: “Altria will only sell menthol, tobacco and mint flavored vaping products going forward. Flavors such as ‘Vineyard Blend’ and ‘Mardi Gras’ will be going away. These other flavors only contribute about 20% of Altria’s sales in the space so it is a small price to pay to get on the FDA’s good side. Altria steps out of the way in a space that they have limited impact while other companies, like JUUL, deal with the FDA on the teen vaping problem.

“Meanwhile, the company can focus on gaining domestic approval for the poorly named ‘IQOS’ system developed by Phillip Morris International, which Altria plans to distribute in the United States… This is a far more important product for the company that has shown success in overseas markets… Overall, Altria has made a big announcement that really doesn’t affect them very much. Their products are not the ones that are behind the explosion in teen vaping though Altria will benefit if those teens switch to regular cigarettes over time. Discontinuing a few flavor pods makes them look good while they focus on bringing their new IQOS product to market, a product that is much more important to the company’s long-term profitability for shareholders.”

Source: Forbes, 6 November 2018

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