Action on Smoking and Health

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ASH Daily News for 26 October 2018

UK

  • Study: Early death ‘twice as likely’ in most deprived parts of England

International

  • Opinion: WHO not taking on board expert opinion around tobacco and harm reduction
  • US: Marlboro maker axes flavoured e-cigarettes

Parliamentary Activity

  • Parliamentary Questions

Link of the Week

  • New NHS Maternity Statistics for England 2017-18

UK

Study: Early death ‘twice as likely’ in most deprived parts of England

A new study published in the Lancet has found that rates of premature mortality are two times higher in the most deprived area of England (Blackpool), compared to the most affluent areas (Wokingham, Surrey, Windsor and Maidenhead, and West Berkshire).

Although rates of premature death have fallen since 1990, half of all premature deaths in 2016 were linked to risk factors including tobacco use, unhealthy diet, alcohol and drug use, obesity and high blood pressure.

Lung cancer and COPD were among the top 4 causes of premature death along with ischaemic heart disease and cerebrovascular disease. The association with deprivation was particularly strong for lung cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease which are strongly linked to tobacco smoking.

Source: The Spectator, 26 October 2018

The Lancet: Changes in health in the countries of the UK and 150 English Local Authority areas 1990–2016: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016

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International

Opinion: WHO not taking on board expert opinion around tobacco and harm reduction

In this opinion piece Lizi Jenkins, board member at the tobacco industry funded UK Vaping Industry Association along with other figures from the global vape industry discuss the World Health Organisations stance on vaping and harm reduction.

They are critical of the WHO’s reluctance to treat vaping as distinct from smoking and highlight the importance of vaping as part of a broader harm reduction approach.

Source: Financial Times, 26 October 2018

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US: Marlboro maker axes flavoured e-cigarettes

Altria, the parent company for Philip Morris which owns the popular Malboro cigarette brand, has decided to stop selling several of its e-cigarette products in the US. The company will only sell tobacco, menthol and mint flavours for its remaining vaping devices.

This follows a US Food and Drug Administration investigation into the appeal of e-cigarette marketing to under-18s. Altria also said it would support moves to make 21 the minimum age for purchasing tobacco products.

Source: BBC, 25 October 2018

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Parliamentary Activity

Parliamentary Questions

Parliamentary Question 1: Smoking cessation

Asked by Jonathan Ashworth (Leicester South)
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what comparative assessment his Department has made of the advice on the efficacy of e-cigarettes as a stop smoking aid between Public Health England’s document entitled Stop smoking options: guidance for conversations with patients and NICE’s document entitled Stop smoking interventions and services guidance.

Answered by Steve Brine, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care
Public Health England (PHE) and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) agree that, although not risk free, e-cigarettes are substantially less harmful than smoking. PHE and NICE also agree that e-cigarettes can help smokers to quit and that it is important for a smoker to quit smoking completely to get the full benefits to their health.

PHE’s document ‘Stop smoking options: guidance for conversations with patients’ and NICE’s document entitled ‘Stop smoking interventions and services guidance’ are also well aligned with advice from the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of General Practitioners.

Source: Hansard, 25 October 2018

Link: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2018-10-17/180852/

Parliamentary Question 2: E-cigarettes

Asked by Jonathan Ashworth (Leicester South)
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to Public Health England’s document, Stop smoking options: guidance for conversations with patients, published on 20 August 2018, what evidence Public Health England assessed to inform its recommendation that E-cigarettes can help people quit smoking, with similar or better results than NRT.

Answered by Steve Brine, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care
Public Health England (PHE) referenced two papers in the guidance that helped inform its recommendation. They were:
– ‘Electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation: a randomised controlled trial’ by Bullen and others.
– ‘Real‐world effectiveness of e‐cigarettes when used to aid smoking cessation: a cross‐sectional population study’ by Brown and others.

PHE’s recommendation is also supported by evidence from local stop smoking services in England, where people using e-cigarettes and stop smoking medicines consecutively have the highest rates of success, with 75% quitting successfully compared to 50% for those using medicines alone.

Source: Hansard, 24 October 2018
Link: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2018-10-16/180204/

Parliamentary Question 3: Smoking cessation funding

Asked by Jonathan Ashworth (Leicester South)
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of changes in the level of funding for smoking cessation services on health inequalities.

Answered by Steve Brine, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care
Smoking rates vary considerably across the country and local authorities are best-place to take decisions about the services required to meet the needs of their populations.

Source: Hansard, 24 October 2018
Link: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2018-10-16/180203/

Link of the Week

New NHS Maternity Statistics for England 2017-18

The NHS has published the latest annual data on maternity activity for England. Among other things, the data shows that 31% of women aged under 20 were recorded as a current smoker at their booking appointment.

Source: NHS Digital, 25 October 2018

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ASH Daily News for 13 September 2018

UK

  • Study: Cancers rising around the world
  • Public Health England urged to end tie-up with alcohol industry

International

  • US threatens to ban flavoured e-cigarettes
  • Saudi Arabia tells WTO it plans to adopt plain tobacco packaging

UK

Study: Cancers rising around the world

Researchers at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) have predicted that there will be 18.1 million new cases of cancer and 9.6 million deaths from the disease this year worldwide, up from 14.1 million cases and 8.2 million deaths in 2012.

Lung cancer is now the leading cause of cancer death for women in 28 countries, with the USA, Hungary, China and New Zealand being the worst affected.

George Butterworth, Senior Policy Manager at Cancer Research UK, said: “Tobacco is the single biggest reason why more women across the world are getting lung cancer than ever before. In the UK smoking among women became more prolific later than it did for men, so it’s not surprising that we’re seeing increasing lung cancer rates now. Similarly, cigarettes are now increasingly popular among women in low and middle income countries and the tobacco industry’s aggressive marketing to them is influencing this.”

Source: BBC News, 12 September 2018

See also: IARC Press Release

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Public Health England urged to end tie-up with alcohol industry

Over 40 public health experts have written to Public Health England (PHE) to oppose its affiliation with alcohol industry funded charity, Drinkaware.

The letter argues that working with the industry will “significantly damage” PHE’s credibility.

Martin McKee, professor of European public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and one of the 46 signatories to the letter, said: “The tie-up with Public Health England does give the alcohol industry a lot of credibility. It says we are part of the solution when clearly they are not… [PHE] are creating a climate where other people feel encouraged to do this. Look at the potential tie up between British American Tobacco and Public Health in Birmingham recently, which again produced incredulity. This takes us into an area which we refer to as corporate or commercial determinants of health – the role of large corporations in shaping the agenda and in influencing policy.”

Source: The Guardian, 13 September 2018

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International

US threatens to ban flavoured e-cigarettes

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned the country’s five largest e-cigarette makers — Juul, Blu, MarkTen, Vuse and Logic — that their products could be banned unless the companies can prove within 60 days that they have effective plans to stop sales to children.

“The disturbing and accelerating trajectory of use we’re seeing in youth and the resulting path to addiction must end,” said Scott Gottlieb, head of the FDA. “It’s simply not tolerable.”

The five brands account for 97% of e-cigarette sales in the United States. The value of all sales reached $2.35 billion in 2016. The announcement marks a shift in the agency’s policy on e-cigarettes, which until recently were seen as a potential tool to wean adult smokers off cigarettes.

Source: The Times, 13 September 2018

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Saudi Arabia tells WTO it plans to adopt plain tobacco packaging

Saudi Arabia has notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) that it plans to adopt plain packaging of tobacco products, a public health measure strongly opposed by major tobacco firms.

The move by Saudi Arabia follows a WTO ruling in June in favour of Australian packaging laws in what was seen as a test case for tobacco control. Cuba, Indonesia, Honduras and the Dominican Republic challenged the Australian law on the grounds that the ban on colourful logos and the implementation of standardised packets were a breach of intellectual property rules and unduly restricted trade.

The Australian government described the ruling as a “resounding victory” for the laws it introduced in 2010. The World Health Organization said it expected the WTO ruling to create a domino effect as more and more countries moved towards tough Australian-style tobacco laws.

Source: Reuters News, 12 September 2018

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