Action on Smoking and Health

Tag Archives: electronic cigarettes


ASH Daily News for 23 July 2018

UK

  • Smoking ban in prisons has led to tobacco becoming part of the prison ‘illicit economy’
  • Stop smoking: e-cigarette users are still paying higher insurance premiums

International

  • PMI’s iQOS device being blamed for poor stock-market performance
  • Honduras appeals WTO landmark ruling on Australia’s plain tobacco packaging

UK

Smoking ban in prisons has led to tobacco becoming part of the prison ‘illicit economy’

Banning smoking in prisons has led to tobacco being smuggled in and becoming part of the illicit economy. In a letter to Bob Neill MP, chair of the Justice Select Committee, Rory Stewart MP, Prisons Minister, wrote: “With regards to the impact on the illicit economy; tobacco has become an additional currency to the current currencies relating to drug use and mobile phones within the illicit economy.”

The smoking ban was fully implemented in prisons this year after being introduced across the prison estate over the previous two years.

Mr Stewart also noted that there appeared to have been a sharp rise in the use of new psychoactive substances, such as Spice, related to the smoking ban but that this did not occur in all prisons. The relationship should be considered a correlation rather than causation, he said. He added: “My initial conclusions are that some of the worst fears about the possible consequences of smoke-free prisons have not been realised.”

Source: The Times, 23 July 2018

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Stop smoking: e-cigarette users are still paying higher insurance premiums

Despite being considered a safer alternative, e-cigarette users are paying the same life insurance premiums as smokers. Along with nicotine patches and other nicotine products, e-cigarettes are placed in the same band as regular cigarettes, meaning users still need to pay higher life insurance rates.

The average non-smoker pays an estimated £13.83 a month for life insurance, according to a new analysis, while a smoker could expect to pay almost double at £22.70 a month.

Kevin Pratt, consumer affairs expert at MoneySuperMarket which conducted the analysis, said: “Using nicotine in any form, including patches and gum, means you’ll be regarded as a smoker; you have to be nicotine free for 12 months to get the lower premiums.”

Source: Express, 22 July 2018

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International

PMI’s iQOS device being blamed for poor stock-market performance

Philip Morris International (PMI) recently delivered a ‘disappointing’ earnings report which showed a significant slowdown in their heat-not-burn primary market: Japan. The shares of PMI are down 30% in the past year, a substantial reduction. The relatively poor performance of iQOS is largely what is behind PMI’s large stock market falls.

iQOS is PMI’s flagship heat-not-burn product and it was first introduced in selected Japanese sites in 2014 and rolled out across the country last year. Initially iQOS did well, with unit shipments soon surpassing those of traditional cigarettes. However, the Japanese market is an anomaly in that competition for iQOS is effectively banned. The e-liquids used in electronic cigarettes are regulated as a pharmaceutical ingredient, which effectively prevents sales of e-cigarettes. This has allowed the heat-not-burn iQOS device to be sold with little competition.

The popularity of iQOS in Japan has since waned; PMI said they have reached all the ‘early adopters’ of the new technology and now has to try and convince ‘more conservative’ smokers to switch to the product.

Source: Yahoo Finance, 22 July 2018

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Honduras appeals WTO landmark ruling on Australia’s plain tobacco packaging

Honduras has appealed against a World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruling won last month by Australia on its plain packaging requirements for tobacco, a WTO spokesman said on Friday. In a landmark ruling officially passed on the 29th June 2018, the WTO panel said Australia’s law improved public health by reducing the use of tobacco products, rebuffing claims that alternative measures would be equally effective.

It also rejected the argument that Australia had unjustifiably infringed tobacco trademarks and violated intellectual property rights.

Source: Reuters, 20 July 2018

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ASH Daily News for 18 May 2018

UK

  • Efforts to cut number of smokers across North East by half are praised in parliament
  • Most women find smokers unattractive – and would rather likely to date an e-cigarette user, survey finds
  • Hull: Smoking puts 10 people in hospital every day

International

  • USA: Vast majority of heavy smokers not screened for lung cancer despite USPSTF recommendations
  • European Commission prioritises tobacco and sacrifices global health in trade negotiations with Latin America
  • USA: Shisha Responsible for over Half of Tobacco Smoke Inhaled by Young Smokers
  • Dutch Insurer NN Group Quits Tobacco Investments
  • Nigeria: Tobacco consumption contributes to 12% of deaths from heart diseases

Link of the week

  • Opinion: Big Tobacco is desperate to prevent ‘plain packaging’ spreading around the world

UK

Efforts to cut number of smokers across North East by half are praised in parliament

Work across the North East to almost half the number of smokers has been recognised in Parliament. Public Health Minister Steve Brine and Shadow Public Health Minister Sharon Hodgson discussed the work of Fresh Smokefree North East during a debate to reflect on 70 years of the NHS.

Smoking has fallen in the North East from 29% in 2005 to 17.2% in 2016, with the region also having the highest quit success rates over the past decade and the largest fall in smoking during pregnancy, from 22.2% in 2009/10 down to 16% in 2016.

Source: Sunderland Echo, 18 May 2018

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Most women find smokers unattractive and are slightly more likely to date an e-cigarette user, survey finds

Women are more likely to find smoking unattractive than men are, a new survey has found. Around 56 percent of women said they would not date someone who smokes with nearly 70 percent saying they find it unattractive. There was a lesser degree of unwillingness to date someone who vapes, often marketed as a less harmful alternative to traditional cigarettes.

Among the participants, 46 percent of women said they would not date a vaper with around 55 percent saying it was unattractive.

The survey, conducted by Inogen, a supplemental oxygen company, looked at 1,006 single people between the ages of 18 and 76.

Source: Mail on Sunday, 17 May 2018

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Hull: Smoking puts 10 people in hospital every day

The latest figures from Public Health England have revealed that in the year 2016 to 2017, there were 3,731 occasions in Hull where people were admitted to hospital for smoking-related diseases. That’s up from 3,650 similar cases seen in the year before, which was the highest number on record.

In total, these cost the NHS nearly £6m to treat people in Hull for these diseases in hospital last year, which works out at £22 for every man, woman and child living here. Across the country, 244,470 people died from smoking between 2014 and 2016-1,681 of those were from Hull.

Hazel Cheeseman, director of policy at Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), said: “These figures demonstrate that the NHS is not doing enough to support smokers to quit. A recent audit found that three out of four hospital patients who smoke are not offered help to stop. If they were, hospitals would not only see fewer smoking related deaths and admissions but also an improvement in the effectiveness of many treatments including chemotherapy and surgery.”

Source: Hull Daily Mail, 17 May 2018

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International

USA: Vast majority of heavy smokers not screened for lung cancer despite USPSTF recommendations

An analysis of 1,800 lung cancer screening sites nationwide found that only 1.9% of more than 7 million current and former heavy smokers were screened for lung cancer in 2016, despite United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and ASCO screening recommendations. This study, the first assessment of lung cancer screening rates since those recommendations were issued in 2013, will be presented at the upcoming 2018 ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago.

“Lung cancer screening rates are much lower than screening rates for breast and colorectal cancers, which is unfortunate,” said lead study author Danh Pham, MD, a medical oncologist at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center, University of Louisville, Kentucky. “It is unclear if the screening deficit is due to low provider referral or perhaps patient psychological barriers from fear of diagnosis. Lung cancer is unique in that there may be stigma associated with screening, as some smokers think that if cancer is detected, it would confirm they’ve made a bad lifestyle choice.”

Source: Medical Xpress, 17 May 2018

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European Commission prioritises tobacco and sacrifices global health in trade negotiations with Latin America

The European Public Health Alliance, along with Latin American and global partners, has written to the EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and First Vice-President Frans Timmermans to put health ahead of the interests of the tobacco industry in the EU’s trade negotiations with Mexico, Chile and the Mercosur trade bloc (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay).

The EU is being called to publicly change its stance and to drop tobacco as an EU “Offensive Interest” in its negotiations with Mercosur. Another change being pushed by activists is for the EU to commit to completely exclude tobacco lobbyists from influencing policy positions on international trade.

Source: European Public Health Alliance, 18 May 2018

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USA: Shisha responsible for over half of tobacco smoke inhaled by young smokers

Smoking tobacco from a waterpipe, also known as a shisha pipe, accounted for over half of the tobacco smoke volume consumed by young adult shisha and cigarette smokers in the U.S., a new University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine analysis has discovered.

Toxicant exposures – such as tar, carbon monoxide and nicotine – were lower, yet substantial, for those young adults who just smoked shisha pipes, compared to those who smoked both wateripes and cigarettes. The research, funded by the National Cancer Institute, is published today in the journal Tobacco Control.

In the U.S., waterpipe tobacco smoking rates are increasing and cigarette smoking rates are decreasing, especially among young adults.

Source: Science Newsline, 17 May 2018

See also: BMJ Tobacco Control, Waterpipe tobacco use in college and non-college young adults in the USA

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Dutch insurer NN group quits tobacco investments

Dutch insurer NN Group will no longer invest in the tobacco industry and said on Thursday it aims to divest all tobacco-related holdings on its own accounts and in the funds of its asset manager within a year.

NN’s step follows similar moves by BNP Paribas Asset Management and insurers AXA, Aviva and Scor, which all decided to sell out of the industry because of the health, social and environmental costs linked to tobacco smoking.

“Tobacco no longer fits with our responsible investment approach,” NN Chief Investment Officer Jelle van der Giessen said. “It is not possible to use tobacco products responsibly.”

Source: Insurance Journal, 17 May 2018

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Nigeria: Tobacco consumption contributes to 12% of deaths from heart diseases

The chairman of the Nigerian Heart Foundation, Dr. Olufemi Mobolaji-Lawal, recently addressed journalists in Lagos to discuss tobacco control in the run-up to World No-Tobacco Day. He lamented the low levels of implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) across African countries. Journalists were told that tobacco consumption contributes to around 12% of heart disease deaths in Nigeria.

Source: All Africa, 17 May 2018

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Link of the week

Big Tobacco is desperate to prevent ‘plain packaging’ spreading around the world

Coming up to a year after standardised ‘plain packaging’ was fully implemented in the UK on 20 May 2017, the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association (TMA) and now Japan Tobacco International (JTI) have claimed that it’s a failure.

Why is Big Tobacco bothering, when it’s clear the UK is tough on tobacco, won its case in the courts and is not going to reverse the legislation? The reason is obvious, this is a last ditch and desperate attempt to delay and discourage the many other governments coming down the same track. Three countries have fully implemented plain packs to date (France, Australia and the United Kingdom), by the end of this year it will be six, with seven more having passed legislation and more following on behind. The dominoes are falling, markets around the world are going dark, and Big Tobacco is running scared. The WTO decision on the legality of plain packs is expected shortly, and the outcome, a defeat for the tobacco industry, has already been leaked.

Source: ASH (on Medium), 18 May 2018

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ASH Daily News for 17 May 2018

UK

  • Telford: Figures coming down as midwife supports pregnant smokers to quit
  • Nottinghamshire: £2.4 million of illicit cigarettes and tobacco seized in county in one year

International

  • Obesity linked to increased risk of taking up smoking and smoking frequency
  • US: Man first to die from vape pen malfunction

UK

Telford: Figures coming down as midwife supports pregnant smokers to quit

Telford and Wrekin had a much higher than average number of women who smoked at the time of giving birth in 2016/17. A total of 21% of pregnant women were smoking when their babies were born compared to the national average of 10.5%.

However numbers have reduced over the past year after a new role was created to tackle the problem head-on.

Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group and Telford & Wrekin Council decided to jointly commission a public health midwife role to try to tackle the issue. Figures show that since Michelle Powell who had been a local midwife for over 25 years was appointed to the position, the number of women still smoking at the time of birth has dropped. The current 2017/18 figure shows a decline to 17.2%.

Michelle, who works alongside a support midwife, encourages mothers-to-be to stop smoking using nicotine replacement therapies, offers advice and monitors their progress.

Source: Shropshire Star, 17 May 2018

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Nottinghamshire: £2.4 million of illicit cigarettes and tobacco seized in county in one year

More than 124,000 illicit cigarettes and 6,000kg of tobacco were seized in Nottinghamshire last year, with 44 arrests made.

During 2017/18, officers from Nottinghamshire County Council’s trading standards team conducted a total of 124 inspections at premises in the county. In 45 instances there were seizures of illicit tobacco.

Source: Nottingham Post, 16 May 2018

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International

Obesity linked to increased risk of taking up smoking and smoking frequency

A team of researchers based in France and the UK set out to determine whether genetic markers associated with obesity play a direct (causal) role in smoking behaviour.

They analysed genetic variants with known effects on body mass index (BMI), body fat percentage and waist circumference for nearly 450,000 individuals from the UK Biobank database and the Tobacco and Genetics (TAG) consortium, using a technique called Mendelian randomisation.

The results show that each 4.6 kg/m2 increase in BMI was associated with an 18% increased risk of being a smoker in UK Biobank and a 19% increased risk in the TAG consortium data.

Each increase in BMI was also estimated to increase smoking frequency by around one cigarette per day (0.88 in UK Biobank and 1.27 in the TAG consortium).

If it could be established that obesity influences smoking behaviour, this would have implications for prevention strategies aiming to reduce these important risk factors.

See also:
BMJ: Role of obesity in smoking behaviour: Mendelian randomisation study in UK Biobank

Source: Medical Express, 16 May 2018

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US: Man first to die from vape pen malfunction

A man has died after his vape pen exploded. Tallmadge D’Elia suffered traumatic head injuries and burns to over 80% of his body due to the malfunctioning e-cigarette, a post-mortem found.

The 38-year-old had being using the product on May 5th when the device exploded, igniting a blaze at the beach resort home of his parents in St Petersburg, Florida.

Mr D’Elia’s death is understood to be the first recorded death due to a vape pen explosion in the United States.

Source: The Mirror, 17 May 2018

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ASH Daily News for 16 May 2018

UK

  • Retail age checks show high pass rate for tobacco sale tests but falling pass rates for e-cigs
  • Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association argues plain packaging has failed to reduce smoking rates

International

  • Philip Morris iQOS patents reveal that the company could harvest users’ data
  • More US adults say they’ve tried vaping, but regular use is down
  • Qatar: Ministry of Public Health launches national anti-tobacco campaign

 

UK

Retail age checks show high pass rate for tobacco sale tests but falling pass rates for e-cigs

New data from Serve Legal, a UK retail age check company, shows that most retailers are strict about age checks for cigarettes. In tobacco sale tests, retailers achieved an 80 per cent pass rate in 2017. Pass rates have improved year on year since 2015. Retailers in the South West achieved the highest pass rate (79 per cent) and London the lowest (60 per cent).

There is less positive news from the e-cigarette age test data. Pass rates have fallen from 91 per cent in 2015 to 70 per cent in 2017. This suggests that there may still be confusion amongst retailers about e-cigarettes being an 18+ product.

Source: Retail Times, 16 May 2018

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Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association argues plain packaging has failed to reduce smoking rates

Plain packaging on cigarettes has been branded a failure by pro-smoking campaigners. Drawing on numbers from the Smoking Toolkit Study, campaigners have compared the smoking rate of 17.1 per cent in March 2018 with March last year’s rate of 16.5 per cent – an increase of 0.7 per cent.

The Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association (TMA) said if the same effect was seen across the UK with the same population, there would be approximately 350,000 more adult smokers in March 2018 than a year before the plain packaging was brought in.

Source: The Sun, 15 May 2018

Editorial comment:

Robert West, Professor of Health Psychology and University College London, said: “The TMA report using our data on smoking is nonsense and their claims are completely unwarranted. The analysis of data from our Smoking Toolkit surveys does not support the TMA’s contention about the impact of plain packaging. Plain packaging was introduced in May 2016, with the first packs appearing in shops shortly after, since then our surveys show an overall decline in adult smoking prevalence. Cherry picking specific months out of the variation shown within our surveys is an inappropriate analysis of the data.”

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International

Philip Morris iQOS patents reveal that the company could harvest users’ data

There are new concerns that Philip Morris could be able to collect massive amounts of data from individual iQOS products.

Ottawa-based TechInsights Inc have studied the device and say the iQOS is equipped with technology which could facilitate the storing of device information that could then be transmitted back to Philip Morris. The data could include details like the number of puffs by a user and how many times a person used the device in a given day.

The initiative, if allowed by regulators, could extract information about a user’s smoking routine from the device and use it for marketing purposes, said a former project manager at Philip Morris.

Gregory Connolly, a professor at Northeastern University in Boston who has studied iQOS technology and patents, said Philip Morris’ ability to gather user data could give the device remarkable power. “What they’re going to have is a mega database of how Americans smoke,” he said. “Then they’ll be able to reprogram the current puffing delivery pattern of the iQOS to one that may be more reinforcing and with a higher addiction potential.”

Source: Reuters, 16 May 2018

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More US adults say they’ve tried vaping, but regular use is down

New research shows 1 in 7 U.S. adults have tried electronic cigarettes. This is an increase but it’s offset by a small decline in the number currently using the devices. About 3 percent of adults were current users in 2016, down from almost 4 percent in 2014. Adults who have tried them at least once reached just over 15 percent in 2016.

See also: Journal of the American Medical Association, Changes in Electronic Cigarette Use Among Adults in the United States, 2014-2016

Business Insider UK, 15 May 2018

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Qatar: Ministry of Public Health launches national anti-tobacco campaign

The Ministry of Public Health has launched a national campaign to curb the impacts of smoking and tobacco use.

The three-phase, multi-year campaign aims to encourage residents to follow the existing tobacco control laws and to understand the risks associated with tobacco use. It also aims to discourage youth from starting the habit and to direct people to useful resources to help them quit.

Minister of Public Health, H E Dr Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari, said: “Smoking is a significant public health issue in Qatar. Around 37 percent of the population over the age of 15 say they currently smoke tobacco and we continue to see more young people take up the habit. The National Health Strategy 2018-2022 sets a target of reducing the prevalence of smoking, and to achieve this, it is important that we redouble our efforts to combat tobacco use.”

Source: The Peninsula, 16 May 2018

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ASH welcomes new Public Health England Report on E-Cigarettes   

6 February 2018

Action on Smoking and Health has strongly welcomed a new report on e-cigarettes, produced by independent experts for Public Health England. [1] The report updates the evidence on e-cigarette use among adults and young people; their effectiveness as an aid to quitting by smokers; the risks to health compared to smoking and public understanding of those risks. PHE goes on to urge smokers and public bodies to act on the evidence.

The report suggests that just under 3 million people currently use e-cigarettes, but that the numbers using them have now levelled off. E-cigarettes are likely to be helping at least 20,000 people to quit smoking every year. Those smokers who switch completely to vaping are likely to substantially cut health risks. The report concludes that the evidence does not support concerns that e-cigarettes are a route into smoking among young people. Youth smoking rates continue to decline, and regular vaping is negligible among young people who have never smoked.

However, the report raises serious concerns about public misunderstanding of the risks and benefits of e-cigarette use. Millions of smokers wrongly think that vaping is as harmful as smoking. Around 40% of current smokers have never tried e-cigarettes. And fewer than one in ten adults know that most of the health damage caused by smoking comes from the by-products of cigarette combustion, and not from the nicotine content.

These findings support the evidence from successive YouGov surveys commissioned by ASH. Between 2013 and 2017 a growing proportion of both the general public and smokers failed to recognise that e-cigarette use is much less harmful than smoking. In 2017 only 13% of adults correctly identified that e-cigarettes are much less harmful, compared to 21% in 2013. The proportion of adults thinking that e-cigarettes are at least as dangerous as smoking nearly quadrupled from 2013 to 2017 from 7% to 26%. [2]

The PHE report follows a recent report by the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, which concluded that “e-cigarettes are likely to be far less harmful than combustible tobacco cigarettes.” [3]

Commenting, ASH Chief Executive Deborah Arnott said:

“The PHE report is part of a growing scientific consensus that e-cigarettes are likely to be very much less harmful than smoking and can help smokers quit. E-cigarette use has stagnated in recent years, which is hardly surprising as many smokers incorrectly believe that vaping is as harmful as smoking. We hope this report will provide the reassurance needed to encourage the 40% of smokers who’ve failed to quit but never tried vaping to go ahead and switch.

She went on to say:

“ASH supports PHE’s recommendation that smokers who have struggled to quit should try vaping as an alternative to smoking, and that e-cigarettes should be made available on prescription. Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable premature death, responsible for over 1,000 hospital admissions a day in England.[4] Providing support to smokers to quit is highly cost-effective and essential for the sustainability of the NHS.”

In order to be provided on prescription e-cigarettes have to be licensed as a medicine by the MHRA. The Tobacco Control Plan for England makes a commitment to “maximise the availability of safer alternatives to smoking”, and it goes on to say that, “The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will ensure that the route to medicinal regulation for e-cigarette products is fit for purpose so that a range of safe and effective products can potentially be made available for NHS prescription.” [5]

ENDS

Notes and Links

Action on Smoking and Health is a health charity working to eliminate the harm caused by tobacco use. For more information see: www.ash.org.uk/about-ash. ASH receives funding for its programme of work from Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation.

ASH staff are available for interview and have an ISDN line.

For more information contact ASH: 020 7404 0242, or out of hours, Deborah Arnott on 07976 935 987 or Hazel Cheeseman on 07754 358 593.

References

[1] The evidence review was conducted for Public Health England by Professor Ann McNeill, Professor of Tobacco Addiction at King’s College, and Professor Linda Bauld, Professor of Health Policy at the University of Stirling.

[2] The latest YouGov survey can be downloaded from: http://ash.org.uk/download/use-of-e-cigarettes-among-adults-in-great-britain-2017/

[3] National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine. Public Health Consequences of E-Cigarettes 23 January 2018. The US report can be downloaded from https://www.nap.edu/catalog/24952/public-health-consequences-of-e-cigarettes. The quote included in the press release comes from the summary. Section 19-4 page 500 goes into more detail:

“E-cigarette Harm

As concluded in previous chapters, e-cigarettes are likely to be less harmful than combustible tobacco cigarettes. Estimates of how harmful they are relative to combustible tobacco cigarettes range from 5 percent estimated by the U.K. Royal College of Physicians (TAG, 2008) to 30 to 50 percent estimated by Glantz (2016), with most agreement concentrated around the lower figure.”

[4] ONS Adult smoking habits in the UK: 2016. Published June 2017.

[5] DH. Tobacco Control Plan for England. July 2017.

ASH response to Science and Technology Committee inquiry into e-cigarettes

In December 2017 ASH made a submission to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee inquiry into e-cigarettes. You can read the submission by following the link below.

ASH response to Science and Technology Committee inquiry into e-cigarettes

Action on Smoking and Health welcomes inquiry into electronic cigarettes

25 October 2017

The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee has today (25 October) announced an inquiry into electronic cigarettes.

Public health charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) welcomed the news. ASH Chief Executive Deborah Arnott said:

“ASH is pleased that the Committee has launched this timely inquiry, and we look forward to submitting evidence in response. This is a fast moving market and it is crucial that any policies on e-cigarettes are based on the best available evidence. While e-cigarettes are helping smokers quit they are not a stand-alone solution to the tobacco epidemic and it’s important that the evidence is considered in the context of tried and tested policies such as taxation and regulating tobacco marketing, that have been driving down rates of smoking for many decades.” [1]

ENDS

References

[1] Nicotine without smoke: Tobacco harm reduction. A report by the Tobacco Advisory Group of the Royal College of Physicians. April 2016.

Notes and Links:

Action on Smoking and Health is a health charity working to eliminate the harm caused by tobacco use. For more information see: www.ash.org.uk/about-ash

ASH receives funding for its programme of work from Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation.

ASH staff are available for interview and have an ISDN line. For more information contact ASH on 020 7404 0242 or out of hours Deborah Arnott on 07976 935 987 or Hazel Cheeseman on 07754 358 593.

ASH response to British Psychological Society endorsement of electronic cigarettes

10 October 2017

The British Psychological Society (BPS) has today urged wider promotion of electronic cigarettes as a method of stopping smoking.

In response to this announcement, Hazel Cheeseman, director of policy at public health charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), said:

“We welcome this report setting out the role e-cigarettes can play in reducing the harm from smoking. Many smokers have found e-cigarettes helpful in quitting but confusion persists among some about the relative safety of vaping compared to smoking. 2.9 million adults in England currently use electronic cigarettes, over half have already quit smoking and many of the rest are actively seeking to do so.” [1]

Hazel Cheeseman continued:

“Evidence shows that the most effective way to quit smoking is through a combination of professional face to face support and stop smoking aids. What health professionals tell smokers about e-cigarettes is important to ensure that smokers have an accurate view of what switching to vaping might mean. It is hoped that if smokers are better informed this will help more to successfully quit tobacco for good.”

[1] ASH factsheet: Use of e-cigarettes among adults in Great Britain 2017. http://ash.org.uk/download/use-of-e-cigarettes-among-adults-in-great-britain-2017/

ENDS

Notes and Links:

Action on Smoking and Health is a health charity working to eliminate the harm caused by tobacco use. For more information see: www.ash.org.uk/about-ash

ASH receives funding for its programme of work from Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation.

ASH staff are available for interview and have an ISDN line. For more information contact ASH on 020 7404 0242 or out of hours Deborah Arnott on 07976 935 987 or Hazel Cheeseman on 07754 358 593.

UK’s largest ever analysis of data shows no evidence that e-cigarettes are leading young people into smoking

29 August 2017

UK’s largest ever analysis of data shows no evidence that e-cigarettes are leading young people into smoking

Concerns that use of e-cigarettes by young people in the UK could be leading to smoking are so far not borne out by the evidence, shows a new study published today.

The study, a collaboration between UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, Public Health England, Action on Smoking and Health, and the DECIPHer Centre at the University of Cardiff is an analysis of five large-scale surveys conducted in the period 2015-17 involving over 60,000 11-16 year-olds. [1]

The findings show a consistent pattern: most e-cigarette experimentation among young people does not lead to regular use, and levels of regular e-cigarette use in young people who have never smoked remain very low. [2]

Regular (at least weekly) use of e-cigarettes amongst all young people surveyed was 3% or less. This was highly concentrated in those who also smoked tobacco. Among young people who smoke regularly (at least weekly), use of electronic cigarettes ranged from 7% to 38%. [2]. However, among young people who have never smoked, regular use of e-cigarettes was negligible – between 0.1% and 0.5% across the five surveys. [2]

Most studies of e-cigarettes and young people in the UK and elsewhere have looked at experimentation – involving ever or recent use, rather than regular use. Some of these studies have suggested that trying an e-cigarette leads to young people becoming smokers, which is not justified by the evidence.

Professor Linda Bauld, Professor of Health Policy, University of Stirling:

“Recent studies have generated alarming headlines that e-cigarettes are leading to smoking. Our analysis of the latest surveys from all parts of the United Kingdom, involving thousands of teenagers shows clearly that for those teens who don’t smoke, e-cig experimentation is simply not translating into regular use.

 “Our study also shows that smoking rates in young people are continuing to decline. Future studies on this subject need to continue to monitor both experimentation and regular use of e-cigarettes and take into account trends in tobacco use if we are to provide the public with accurate information.”

Martin Dockrell, Tobacco Policy Manager, Public Health England:

 “The findings in this study suggest that in terms of protecting children we are broadly getting the balance right in the UK.  We have a regulatory system that aims to protect children and young people while ensuring adult smokers have access to safer nicotine products that can help them stop smoking. This includes a minimum age of sale, tight restrictions on marketing, and comprehensive quality and safety requirements. We will continue to monitor the trends in e-cigarette use alongside those in smoking.”

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive, Action on Smoking and Health:

 “ASH will continue to monitor the potential impact of e-cigarettes on young people, however this study provides reassurance that to date fears that they are a gateway into smoking are just not born out by the facts on the ground. A small proportion of young people do experiment with e-cigs, but this does not appear to be leading to regular vaping or smoking in any numbers, indeed smoking rates in young people are continuing to decline.”

Graham Moore, Deputy Director, DECIPHer:

“Few people would argue that e-cigarette use in young people should be encouraged. However, these surveys consistently show that the rapid growth in experimentation with e-cigarettes among young people throughout the UK has so far not resulted in widespread regular use among non-smokers. Taken alongside our other recent analyses which suggest that among young people who use both e-cigarettes and tobacco, tobacco nearly always comes first, concerns that e-cigarettes are leading large numbers of young people into addiction and tobacco use increasingly seem to be implausible.”

ENDS

 

Notes

Young people are defined as aged from 11-16 in the surveys analysed.

Contributors to the research paper include: Public Health England, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), members of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies (The Institute for Social Marketing at the University of Stirling, The Addictions Department at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London) and The Centre for the Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement at Cardiff University.

Contributors are available for interview. Please contact Stevie Benton from Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) on 020 7404 0242

Funding

  • The YTPS was supported by a grant from Cancer Research UK
  • The ASH surveys were supported by grants from Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation.
  • The School Health Research Network in Wales is a partnership between the DECIPHer at Cardiff University, Welsh Government, Public Health Wales and Cancer Research UK, funded by Health and Care Research Wales via the National Centre for Population Health and Well-being Research.

References

[1] The five surveys are:

  • The Youth Tobacco Policy Survey
  • Schools Health Research Network Wales survey
  • ASH Smokefree GB Youth survey 2016
  • ASH Smokefree GB Youth survey 2017
  • Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey

[2] Bauld L et al Young People’s Use of E-Cigarettes across the United Kingdom: Findings from Five Surveys 2015-2017, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 2017, 14, 29 August 2017 http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/14/9/973/pdf

Use of e-cigarettes among adults in Great Britain, 2018

This fact sheet reports the results of the ASH Smokefree GB surveys on the use of e-cigarettes among adults in Great Britain. ASH included questions on e-cigarette use in this annual survey starting in 2010 with questions addressed only to smokers.

Use of e-cigarettes among adults in Great Britain, 2018

The impact of the EU Tobacco Products Directive on e-cigarette regulation in the UK

This briefing examines the impact of the EU Tobacco Products Directive on e-cigarette regulation in the UK.

The impact of the EU Tobacco Products Directive on e-cigarette regulation in the UK

ASH Briefing on electronic cigarettes

Electronic cigarettes are marketed as a cheaper, safer alternative to conventional cigarettes. As they do not produce smoke, research suggests that electronic cigarettes are relatively harmless in comparison with smoking. This briefing reviews the safety of e-cigarettes and how effective they are as an aid to stopping smoking.

ASH briefing on electronic cigarettes

ASH response to MHRA consultation on e-cigarette fees

ASH’s response to MHRA proposals on electronic cigarette fees.

MHRA-Consultation-response.pdf

ASH response to DH consultation on proposed implementation of advertising rules for e-cigarettes

ASH response to a Department of Health consultation on proposed implementation of advertising rules for e-cigarettes.

ASHconsultation_ecigadregs160104.pdf

Use of electronic cigarettes among young people in Great Britain, 2018

Regular use of electronic cigarettes among young people in Britain is rare and is confined almost entirely to those who currently smoke or have previously smoked.  August 2018.

34. Use of electronic cigarettes among children in Great Britain
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