Action on Smoking and Health

Tag Archives: NHS


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 4 October 2018

UK

  • North West: School gates ban for smokers
  • North West: Morecambe vape shop’s cessation scheme gains NHS support

International

  • Daily Bulletin 4: Framework Convention Alliance at the WHO FCTC conference of the parties

UK

North West: School gates ban for smokers

Tameside Council is calling on the borough’s schools to sign up to a Smokefree Gates policy. Council Leader Brenda Warrington said: “Everyone must be aware of the dangers of tobacco. It’s the biggest cause of preventable death and linked to many diseases including cancer. Children exposed to smoking are significantly more likely to take up the habit themselves.

That’s why we want Tameside’s schools to sign up to a Smokefree Gates policy in addition to any other no-smoking or Smokefree measures they already have in place.

Teachers and pupils regularly say that they want to do their learning in green and healthy places. It’s a belief encapsulated in the term ‘little lungs matter’.”

Source: Tameside Metropolitan Borough, 03 October 2018

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North West: Morecambe vape shop’s cessation scheme gains NHS support

A new scheme is aiming to help people stop smoking with the use of e-cigarettes. Up In Smoke, a vape shop in Morecambe, offers a free “pen type e-cigarette” to anyone wishing to try it and has launched a ‘Smokebusters’ scheme support service, which encourages people to visit the premises every week and blow into a Carbon Monoxide (CO) and lung age monitor.

Mike Zorab, general manager at Up In Smoke, explains: “We’ve been backed by Lancashire Quit Squad, which is jointly run by the NHS and Lancashire County Council… Lancaster Quit Squad organised for 20 of their staff to come in for a training session to learn more about e-cigarettes.”

The shop is also working with local NHS organisations to provide e-cigarettes to smokers. Mark Zorab explains that local NHS services are “now referring straight to us as a last resort if patches and gum don’t work. People can come in, fill in a form, there’s a series of questions, and a set of rewards. People have to return every seven days, and if their CO reading has decreased, they get a stamp which can be exchanged for free liquid or vouchers.”

Source: Lancaster Guardian, 04 October 2018

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International

Daily Bulletin 4: Framework Convention Alliance at the WHO FCTC conference of the parties

According to today’s bulletin, yesterday “the Committee took a gigantic step forward for FCTC implementation by endorsing the first ever Global Strategy for Tobacco Control. That’s a big deal: identifying priorities from now until 2025, with a clear and ambitious objective of reducing prevalence sharply, will help the COP, the Secretariat and individual Parties organise their work and raise funds.”

The bulletin goes on to add: “As we head into budget and workplan discussions, it’s critical to prioritise activities and funding to reflect our newly agreed Global Strategy – activities that will actually help to close the gap between where we currently stand and the desired future – a world free from tobacco-caused death and disease.”

Other highlights from today’s bulletin include ‘Unlocking the power of tobacco taxes’, ‘In pursuit of viable alternative livlihoods for tobacco farmers and farm workers’ and ‘Escalating the tobacco-free finance conversation’.

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ASH Daily News for 26 July 2018

UK

  • NHS ‘Stop Smoking’ ads working in Essex

International

  • BAT to launch heated tobacco in US
  • USA: Study finds smokers confused about benefits of lung cancer screenings
  • Indonesia: Tobacco use becoming part of the ‘rite of passage’ for some rural boys

Parliamentary Activity

  • Parliamentary Question

UK

NHS ‘Stop Smoking’ ads working in Essex

Half of young people surveyed in Essex say they’ve been put off taking up smoking by national NHS ‘Stop Smoking adverts’ on TV. The YEAH!3 report, by Healthwatch Essex, found the adverts have discouraged young people from ever taking up smoking, many said that constant reminders of the dangers prevented them from starting. The visual impact of warnings on cigarette packets was also a common factor reported to discourage young people from smoking.

Dr David Sollis, CEO of Healthwatch Essex, said: “It is very encouraging to hear that some of the adverts currently being used by the NHS are proving successful in deterring young people from smoking. That was a very clear message that came out of the report, which is really positive. It seems, for young people who already smoke, being warned of the long-term dangers is not always the strongest incentive to quit. In fact, we found that tailoring smoking-cessation information to include more immediate side effects and consequences may benefit this group more.”

Source: Heart, 26 July 2018

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International

BAT to launch heated tobacco in US

British American Tobacco has said it received a “substantial equivalence” clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for an new version of its carbon-tipped tobacco heating product called Eclipse.

This means the product can be legally marketed in the US and BAT said it would test launch Eclipse in the United States within the next 12 months.

Source: Reuters, 26 July 2018

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USA: Study finds smokers confused about benefits of lung cancer screenings

A study by the VA Center of Innovation for Veteran-Centered and Value-Driven Care in Seattle has found that patients hold misconceptions around the benefits and limitations of lung cancer screenings. Regular cancer screenings can lower chance of death from lung cancer due to earlier detection expanding treatment options, but cannot reduce the risk of developing lung cancer for people who smoke.

To test patients’ actual knowledge about lung cancer, the researchers surveyed 83 smokers after their lungs were screened, with a series of questions. Nearly half (47%) answered the question “For people over age 55 who are current smokers, which is more likely to prevent the most premature deaths – lung cancer screening or quitting smoking?” incorrectly. This means nearly half of patients believed lung cancer screenings were at least as good as quitting smoking as a way of protecting against death.

See also: Annals of the American Thoracic Society, Smokers’ Inaccurate Beliefs about the Benefits of Lung Cancer Screening

Source: Scienmag, 26 July 2018

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Indonesia: Tobacco use becoming part of the ‘rite of passage’ for some rural boys

Indonesia has one of the highest smoking rates in the world, with 63% of men (but just 5% of women) reported to be smokers. It’s the fifth largest tobacco market in the world, in part due it’s large, expanding, population of 260 million.

Some cultures in Indonesia regard circumcision as the mark of when a boy becomes a man and often at this time boys will receive gifts. In tobacco-producing district in Magelang, Central Java, smoking has become part of the rite of passage for boys and cigarettes are now a common gift.

The Magelang regency administration launched an intensive campaign against children smoking early this year including targeting junior high school students to explain the dangers of smoking.

Source: Jakarta Post, 26 July 2018

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Parliamentary Activity

Parliamentary Question

Martyn Day Scottish National Party, Linlithgow and East Falkirk
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how he plans to ensure that the UK tobacco product track and trace system as required by Article 8 of the WHO FCTC Protocol to Eliminate the Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products will be fully independent from the tobacco industry.

Robert Jenrick The Exchequer Secretary
The government is committed to meeting the requirements for independence from the tobacco industry as per Article 8 of the WHO FCTC Protocol to Eliminate the Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products.

The track and trace system will be implemented under the EU Tobacco Products Directive. The implementing legislation for the Directive specifies strict and comprehensive criteria by which independence from the tobacco industry is determined. Providers of the track and trace system will need to demonstrate to HM Revenue & Customs that they satisfy this criteria both before and during the period they provide the services required as a condition of holding the respective contracts.

Source: Hansard, 26 July 2018

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ASH Daily News for 19 July 2018

UK

  • Philip Morris International under fire over ‘disgraceful’ PR stunt
  • British Government orders Philip Morris to stop advertising “healthier” tobacco products, or face legal action
  • North-East: Smokers’ stories wanted for ‘hard-hitting’ health campaign
  • Lancashire: More seizures of illicit tobacco in Nelson
  • Scotland: Avoidable death rate highest in the UK
  • Scotland: Dundee has one of the highest smoking rates in Britain

International

  • UN-backed treaty against illicit tobacco trade set to take effect in September
  • Japan: First anti-smoking law gets go ahead – but it is lax and partial
  • USA: Campaign helps smokers to quit

UK

Philip Morris International under fire over ‘disgraceful’ PR stunt

Philip Morris International (PMI), the world’s largest tobacco firm, has been accused of staging “a disgraceful PR stunt” by offering to help NHS staff quit smoking to help mark the service’s 70th birthday. PMI made an ‘offer’ in a letter sent to all NHS bodies in England and also to Simon Stevens and Matt Hancock.

Mark MacGregor, PMI’s director of corporate affairs in the UK and Ireland, said in the widely distributed letter: “To support the 70th anniversary of the NHS, we are keen to work with you to help the 73,000 NHS employees who currently smoke, to quit cigarettes. This would be a collaborative campaign: you would provide cessation advice for quitting nicotine altogether, and for smokers who do not quit we can help them switch to smoke-free alternatives.”

Paul Burstow, the former Liberal Democrat health minister in the coalition government, said in a letter to Simon Stevens: “Any such collaboration with the tobacco industry would be completely inappropriate and a breach of the UK government’s obligations as a party to the WHO FCTC.”

Bob Blackman, chair of the APPG on Smoking in Health said: “They have the cheek to say they want to support the 70th anniversary of the NHS, but it’s clearly just a commercial opportunity to use the NHS to promote their heated tobacco products.”

Steve Brine, the public health minister said he would tell NHS trusts not to get involved. Brine said: “Our aim to make our NHS – and our next generation – smoke-free must be completely separate from the commercial and vested interests of the tobacco industry.”

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH said: “This is a disgraceful PR stunt. PMI is pretending partnership would benefit the NHS, when actually it would give them a massive commercial advantage. They could promote their own harm-reduction products as NHS-endorsed.”

Source: Guardian, 19 July 2018

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British Government orders Phillip Morris to stop advertising “healthier” tobacco products, or face legal action

The Government will take one of the world’s largest tobacco firms to court unless it stops illegally targeting UK consumers with tobacco adverts, a Minister has said.

Yesterday the Department of Health sent a formal order to Phillip Morris International, which makes Marlboro cigarettes, telling it to remove poster adverts for “healthier” tobacco products from shops around the UK. PMI has been supplying newsagents across Britain with window posters promoting new iQOS tobacco heaters.

The iQOS posters are in breach of a strict, long-standing ban on advertising tobacco and tobacco-related products, the Department for Health and the National Trading Standards Institute have confirmed.

Public Health Minister, Steve Brine, said: “We have been explicit that the promotion of tobacco products is unlawful – as my letter to Phillip Morris International makes abundantly clear. We expect PMI to stop this unlawful advertisement of tobacco products and we will not rule out legal action if they continue.”

Source: The Telegraph, 18 July 2018

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North-East: Smokers’ stories wanted for ‘hard-hitting’ health campaign

Tobacco control group Fresh wants people in the North-East affected by smoking to share their real life experiences. The aim is to put smokers’ real stories at the heart of a ‘hard hitting’ new campaign later this year, warning of the dangers of smoking. They are hoping to hear from former smokers who have been personally affected by ill-health or family members whose loved ones have suffered from a smoking-related illness.

Ailsa Rutter, director of Fresh, said: “It is a brave step to share your experiences with others, but we know that it can have a powerful impact in encouraging others to quit. If you want to make a difference and are interested in backing the campaign, we would love to hear from you.”

Source: The Northern Echo, 19 July 2018

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Lancashire: More seizures of illicit tobacco in Nelson

Action against illegal tobacco in central Nelson has resulted in a further seizure in under a week at one shop, and a manufacturing operation being uncovered at another. An inspection by Lancashire County Council Trading Standards and Lancashire Police on Tuesday, July 17, found a further 88 packs behind the counter at one shop, after a raid the previous Thursday netted over 2,200 packs worth £10,000.

Officers then visited a second shop just outside Nelson town centre, where they found a production line for manufacturing packs of counterfeit rolling tobacco in an upstairs room.

Source: This is Lancashire, 18 July 2018

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Scotland: Avoidable death rate highest in the UK

Scotland has the highest rate of avoidable death in the UK and the figures are getting worse, a BBC analysis has found. In 2016, the rate stood at 301 deaths per 100,000 people, compared with 287 in 2014. Experts blame social deprivation, with easy access to alcohol, tobacco and fast food also a factor.

Dr Andrew Fraser, from NHS Health Scotland, said: “We know that people in poorer areas experience more harm from alcohol, tobacco and fast food than those in more affluent areas. Part of the reason for this is that it is easier to access the things that harm our health in those areas.”

“To prevent death, disease and harm we need to take actions where and when they are needed. We must address harm from alcohol, tobacco, being overweight or obese. However, these are often common factors, co-existing in communities, groups and individuals, and so we must also address the environment we live in.”

Source: BBC News: 19 July 2018

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Scotland: Dundee has one of the highest smoking rates in Britain

New figures from the Office for National Statistics show Dundee still has one of the highest rates of smoking in Britain, with more than one in five adults smoking. However, the number of smokers in Dundee is decreasing, due to a successful and sustained tobacco control strategy from the government. In 2011, 27.3% of Dundee’s population smoked 2017 and by this figure had dropped to 20.8%.

Source: Evening Telegraph, 18 July 2018

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International

UN-backed treaty against illicit tobacco trade set to take effect in September

A UN-backed treaty aimed at stopping the illicit trading of tobacco products, is set to take effect on the 25th of September. The package of measures agreed by countries which 45 Parties and the European Union have ratified is known as the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products. It was developed in response to a growing illegal trade in tobacco products, often across borders.

The Protocol aims to make the supply chain of tobacco products secure through a series of governmental measures. It requires the establishment of a global tracking and tracing regime within five years of its entry into force. Other provisions to ensure control of the supply chain include licensing, record keeping requirements, and regulation of internet-sales, duty-free sales and international transit.

Source: Government World Magazine, 18 July 2018 x

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Japan: First anti-smoking law gets go ahead – but it is lax and partial

Japan has approved its first national legislation banning smoking inside of public facilities, but the watered-down measure excludes many restaurants and bars and is seen as toothless.

The legislation aims to lower secondhand smoking risks ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics amid international calls for a smokefree Games. But ruling party lawmakers with strong ties to the tobacco and restaurant industries opted for a weakened version.

The new national law bans indoor smoking at schools, hospitals and government offices. Smoking will be allowed at existing small eateries, including those with less than 100 square meters (1,076 square feet) of customer space, which includes more than half of Japanese establishments. Larger and new eateries must limit smoking to designated rooms.

Violators can face fines of up to 300,000 yen ($2,700) for smokers and up to 500,000 yen ($4,500) for facility managers. The ban will be implemented in stages and fully enter into force in April 2020.

Source: Medical Xpress, 18 July 2018

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USA: Campaign helps smokers to quit

The ongoing Tips from Former Smokers (Tips) campaign, which features stories of former smokers living with smoking-related diseases and disabilities, has had a considerable impact, according to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Tips campaign engages health care providers so that they can encourage their smoking patients to quit. In addition, resources are provided for health care providers, public health professionals, and mental health providers. More than nine million smokers were estimated to have attempted to quit during 2012 to 2015 as a result of the Tips campaign; conservative estimates indicate that over half a million smokers have quit for good.

There were 267,594 calls attributable to the Tips campaign in 2017, which ran from January 9 to July 30. An estimated 1.83 million smokers attempted to quit and 104,000 quit for good as a result of the 2014 campaign. Non-smokers reported increased conversations with family and friends about the dangers of smoking and had greater knowledge of smoking-related diseases as a result of the Tips 2012 campaign. An estimated 1.64 million smokers made a quit attempt and 100,000 smokers quit for good as a result of the 2012 campaign.

“Smokers who have seen Tips ads report greater intentions to quit within the next 30 days and next six months, and smokers who have seen the ads multiple times have even greater intentions to quit,” according to the report.

Source: Medical Xpress, 18 July 2018

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ASH Daily News for 10 July 2018

UK

  • Matt Hancock begins new role as Health Secretary
  • Argyll and Bute urged to adopt anti-tobacco policy
  • Barnsley: significant drop in smoking levels in the space of only 12 months

International

  • Singapore: Cameras to be deployed to detect illegal smoking
  • USA: LGBT teens are ‘far more likely’ to smoke or vape than straight teens

UK

Matt Hancock begins new role as Health Secretary

The MP for West Suffolk, Matt Hancock, said he is looking forward to starting his new role as Health Secretary after being appointed yesterday (July 9). Hancock was promoted to the cabinet as the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in a reshuffle in January. He replaces Jeremy Hunt who has taken over as Foreign Secretary following the resignation of Boris Johnson on Monday afternoon.

The Department of Health faces significant challenges over staffing levels, waiting times and patient care, despite a £20bn cash pledge from Ms May to mark its 70th anniversary.

Source: The Independent, 10 July 2018

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Argyll and Bute urged to adopt anti-tobacco policy

Community leaders in Argyll and Bute are to push for a new anti-tobacco strategy already in use elsewhere in Scotland. One in six people aged 16 and over in Argyll and Bute are smokers, a meeting of the area’s community planning partnership (CPP) heard last week.

Ms Stephenson works as the smoking cessation co-ordinator with NHS Highland, which runs the HSCP together with the council. Ms Stephenson told members of the CPP: “We don’t have a tobacco policy in Argyll and Bute, so we are asking to adopt [the] policy which is in use by NHS Highland.”

Source: Helensburgh Advertiser, 10 July 2018

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Barnsley: significant drop in smoking levels in the space of only 12 months

Barnsley is on course towards its target of eradicating smoking among the current primary school population as they reach maturity. Barnsley Council and other public bodies are working together to help existing smokers to quit and to ensure older children are not tempted into tobacco use, by keeping the habit hidden from children, so they do not reach their teens regarding the habit as normal.

That work has included making all the town’s major play parks voluntary smoke free zones and rolling out a similar programme for schools, starting with primaries, to discourage parents from smoking when they drop off or collect children.

Latest figures have just been released which show in 2017, 18.2% of the town’s adult population were smokers, down from 20.6% the previous year and beating a target to reduce levels to 20%.

Source: Barnsley Chronicle, 10 July 2018

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International

Singapore: Cameras to be deployed to detect illegal smoking

The National Environment Agency (NEA) intends to deploy surveillance cameras with high-definition thermal sensors around the island to help detect smoking in prohibited areas. Smoking is now prohibited in about 32,000 premises and locations, such as entertainment outlets, shopping malls, office premises, hospitals, bus stops, covered walkways, lift lobbies, stairwells and entrances to buildings.

Cameras deployed in areas where smoking is prevalent but prohibited will record images of the person as well as the date and time. The tamper-proof thermal cameras, which can detect a person holding a lighted cigarette during the day or night, will be placed discreetly on rooftops, in common corridors and staircases of residential buildings, multi-storey car parks and other locations.

Source: The Straits Times, 10 July 2018

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USA: LGBT teens are ‘far more likely’ to smoke or vape than straight teens

According to a new report out of Ohio, almost double the number of gay, lesbian, or bisexual teens smoke regular cigarettes and e-cigarettes than their straight and questioning peers. The data came out of the state’s Health Department and the Ohio Healthy Youth Environments Survey Data.

A little over 25% of trans or gender nonconforming teens have used e-cigarettes in the last 30 days and almost 20% reported having smoked. For straight teens, just over 6% have smoked and 10% have vaped in the last 30 days.

The survey was conducted during the 2016-17 school year.

Source: Gaystar News, 9 July 2018

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ASH Daily News for 9 July 2018

UK

  • Opinion: Britain’s vaping revolution – why this healthier alternative to smoking is under threat
  • Opinion: Fears of future strain on NHS as councils slash health programmes
  • Parents celebrate success of smokefree sidelines initiative
  • North-West: Smokers in Blackburn with Darwen are kicking the habit
  • North-West: Dog detectives sniff out illegal tobacco haul
  • Wales: Smoking litter still a big problem
  • Isle of Wight: Young adults shun smoking, figures show

International

  • Study shows smoking linked to increased stillbirth risk
  • Australia: Health warnings need updating after research shows smokers still unaware of health risks

UK

Opinion: Britain’s vaping revolution – why this healthier alternative to smoking is under threat

In this opinion piece, Matt Ridley explores how vested interests are hampering e-cigarettes as a method of harm reduction for smokers.

Britain is the world leader in vaping. More people use e-cigarettes in the UK than in any other European country. It’s more officially encouraged than in the United States and more socially acceptable than in Australia, where it’s still banned. There is a thriving sector here of vape manufacturers, retailers, exporters, even researchers; there are 1,700 independent vape shops on Britain’s streets. It’s an entrepreneurial phenomenon and a billion-pound industry.

The British vaping revolution dismays some people, who see it as a return to social acceptability for something that looks like smoking with unknown risks. Yet here, more than anywhere in the world, the government disagrees. Public Health England says that vaping is 95% safer than smoking and the vast majority of people who vape are smokers who are partly or wholly quitting cigarettes. The Royal College of Physicians agrees: “The public can be reassured that e-cigarettes are much safer than smoking.”

Yet, despite official endorsement and the growing strength of the evidence for vaping’s harm reduction, public opinion has been moving against e-cigarettes. More than 25% of people now erroneously believe vaping to be at least as harmful as smoking, up from 7% in 2013, thanks to tabloid headlines claiming as much.

Source: The Times, 8 July 2018

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Opinion: Fears of future strain on NHS as councils slash health programmes

In this opinion piece, Denis Campbell (Guardian Health Policy Editor) discusses cuts to health programmes and the impact this will have on the NHS.

Stop-smoking programmes are being cut despite May’s promise of £20bn extra on health, according to the Health Foundation. New analysis shows that by next year, spending per head in England on programmes to tackle smoking, poor diet and alcohol abuse will have fallen by 23.5% over five years. By next year, councils will be spending £95m on smoking and tobacco-control services, 45% less than they were in 2014-15.

Although smoking rates are falling, the habit leads to almost 500,000 hospitalisations a year and is a major cause of strokes, heart problems and life-threatening respiratory conditions. Tim Elwell-Sutton of the Health Foundation said “It is incredibly shortsighted not to invest in keeping people well. We’re crazy if we’re not taking seriously the underlying cause of one of the most harmful illnesses – cancer – which is also one of the most expensive to treat.”

Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health, accused ministers of “confused thinking” over health. “These figures demonstrate a frustrating contradiction from the government, whereby welcome extra money is given to the NHS with one hand, while the other generates more strain on NHS services by draining public health and prevention.”

Source: The Guardian, 8 July 2018

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Parents celebrate success of smokefree sidelines initiative

An evaluation of the #smokefreesidelines campaign, which was designed to stop parents and carers from smoking on the sidelines when watching youth football, has found the initiative to be hugely successful. The aim was to reduce the likelihood of children seeing adult smoking behaviour as the norm.

Researchers visited clubs to observe smoking behaviour, look for discarded smoking materials and interview families and staff. Their evaluation report said that, over time, clubs who signed up to #smokefreesidelines demonstrated “a small but important change in observations of smoking. Particularly marked were changes to the environment (a reduction in smoking debris) and the introduction and widespread use of the smokefree sidelines promotional materials. This suggests a successful and positive move towards the denormalisation of smoking at youth football games. There was strong support from parents and coaches for not smoking on the sidelines.”

Dr Caitlin Notley, a Senior Lecturer from the Norwich Medical School who led the evaluation, said: “We are delighted to have been involved in evaluating this innovative project. Community based initiatives like #smokefreesidelines are an important part of the public health approach to denormalise the visibility of smoking, thus contributing to decreased smoking prevalence in the UK.

Source: BJFM, 6 July 2018

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North-West: Smokers in Blackburn with Darwen are kicking the habit

Smokers in Blackburn with Darwen have had success in quitting, according to new statistics. Figures issued by the Office of National Statistics, show that the rates of adults smoking in Blackburn with Darwen dropped from 27.1% in 2011 to 16.7% in 2017, putting the borough close to the North West average of 16.1 per cent.

Staff at Blackburn with Darwen’s Stop Smoking and Wellbeing Services have worked hard to offer a range of personalised support to help people stop smoking for good. Blackburn with Darwen Council and Blackburn with Darwen Clinical Commissioning Group have also worked together to deliver the local Tobacco Control Policy and worked on initiatives around smokefree homes, cars and outdoor spaces.

Councillor Brian Taylor, executive member for health and adult social care, said: “Giving up smoking is the single most immediate and important action we can take to improve health and wellbeing, improve life expectancy and reduce hospital admissions so I’m delighted to see such positive stats. We want to help as many people quit as possible and our Stop Smoking Service is a great chance to get help to break away from this addiction and start to feel the health and financial benefits of becoming smokefree.”

Source: Lancashire Telegraph, 8 July 2018

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North-West: Dog detectives sniff out illegal tobacco haul

Cheshire West and Chester Council’s (CWAC) Trading Standards officers enlisted the help of tobacco detection dogs during recent operations in Northwich and Chester.

The dogs helped detect concealed stashes of tobacco and cigarettes in two of the premises searched, allowing Trading Standards to seize the haul. Seizures included cigarettes and tobacco that were not in standardised packaging and failed to contain health warnings in English. These products cannot be legally sold in the UK.

Cllr Karen Shore, cabinet member for environment and community at CWAC, said: “People may be tempted by the cheap price tag, but it’s worth considering the great cost to your health, safety and community. Illegal tobacco supports other criminal activity and has many damaging effects on our local communities, as well as causing poor health.”

Source: Northwhich Guardian, 6 July 2018

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Wales: Smoking litter still a big problem

A new report published by Keep Wales Tidy has revealed the prevalence of smoking related litter and the far reaching impacts on our health, wildlife and environment. During recent street cleanliness surveys, smoking related litter was found on 80.3% of our streets, making it the most common type of litter in Wales. They are also the most counted item on beaches in Europe.

Across the UK, it is estimated that 122 tonnes of smoking-related litter are dropped every day. This is predominantly in the form of cigarette ends which are difficult and time-consuming to clean up – costing the taxpayer millions of pounds each year. Contrary to popular belief, cigarette filters are not biodegradable, but are made of a type of plastic which means they can stay in the environment for up to 15 years. And, because of their small size, cigarette ends are easily transported to our waterways and coast.

Cigarette ends can also have deadly consequences for wildlife and have been found in the guts of whales, dolphins, turtles and seabirds who have mistaken them for food. Jemma Bere, Policy and Research Manager for Keep Wales Tidy said: “We want to debunk the myths and misconceptions around the disposal of cigarette ends. Despite their size, cigarette ends still count as litter – so dropping them is a criminal offence. Put simply, our pavements and drains are not ashtrays!”

Source: Wales 247, 9 July 2018

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Isle of Wight: Young adults shun smoking, figures show

Young people on the Isle of Wight are shunning cigarettes, according to the latest figures. Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that the percentage of the Isle of Wight’s population who have never smoked has risen by 38% since 2011.

Nationally, the group comprised of 18 to 24-year-olds had the biggest drop in smoking. Last year, across Britain, 17.8% of 18 to 24-year-olds said they were current smokers, compared with 2011 when more than a quarter smoked.

Deborah Arnott, Action on Smoking and Health chief executive, put this reduction down to banning tobacco advertising. She said, “The brightly coloured pack displays we used to have in shops disappeared completely in 2015 and the packs they do see nowadays are a sludgy green colour, with large picture warnings, rather than the brightly coloured, highly branded packs we used to have. Is it any wonder young people today increasingly choose not to smoke. It’s much less cool than it used to be.”

Source: On the Wight, 6 July 2018

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International

Study shows smoking linked to increased stillbirth risk

Experts at Stellenbosch University, which is situated in South Africa, have found that women who drank alcohol and smoked during pregnancy had an almost three times higher risk of stillbirth compared with women who completely abstained from these behaviours. Between 2007 and 2015, the study followed the drinking and smoking behaviour of nearly 12,000 South African and American women during pregnancy.

Smoking alone had a relative risk of 1.6 for stillbirth, while drinking alone had a relative risk of 2.2. This risk increased when these behaviours continued beyond the first trimester of pregnancy. The study also found a 12 times higher risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in cases where women drank and smoked during pregnancy. In cases where the women drank but did not smoke, the risk for Sids increased by four, and when they smoked but did not drink, there was a five times higher chance for Sids.

Professor Hein Odendaal, who led the South African chapter of the study said, “What’s particularly alarming is that these behaviours were quite common among study participants. More than half used alcohol (52.3%) sometime during pregnancy, and 17% continued drinking throughout the entire pregnancy. Almost half of them smoked (49%) sometimes during pregnancy, and a third (33%) continued smoking for the duration of the pregnancy,” Odendaal said.

See also:
Safrica 24, Drinking alcohol and smoking during pregnancy even more deadly than we knew: Study
Stellenbosch University, Drinking and smoking in pregnancy compound the risk for stillbirth, SIDS

Source: MFA News Network, 8 July 2018

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Australia: Health warnings need updating after research shows smokers still unaware of health risks

There are calls for cigarette packets to show more graphic images, with research showing smokers are still unaware of the health risks. The graphic health warnings introduced in 2012 – including images of a lung with emphysema and a mouth with tongue cancer – are in need of a update to maintain their effectiveness, new research by Cancer Council Victoria has found.

The research findings, published in the Medical Journal of Australia on Monday 9 July, said the images were effective for increasing knowledge about the harms of tobacco, but they require ‘updating regularly to maintain salience and impact’. The Cancer Council research also identified a host of health conditions – including acute leukaemia, diabetes and bladder cancer – that more than half of respondents did not realise were caused by smoking.

Public health researcher, Mike Daube, said ‘We know what needs to be done, the evidence is there, let’s get on with new, research-based health warnings and a major media campaign that will make us world leaders on both counts again.’

See also: Medical Journal of Australia, Population awareness of tobacco-related harms: implications for refreshing public health warnings in Australia

Source: This is Money, 9 July 2018

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New report finds midwives and doctors need more training to address smoking in pregnancy

18 July 2017

A new report [1] is published by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) [2] on behalf of the Smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group [3] and launched in Parliament today (18th July) at a joint event between the APPG on Baby Loss [4] and the APPG on Smoking and Health [5].

The report provides an analysis of the training that midwives and obstetricians receive to address smoking in pregnant women, and what further training is needed. Smoking is a major cause of stillbirth and sudden infant death, and also leads to more babies being born with health problems and with a low birth weight.

Evidence shows that short and straightforward conversations with midwives and doctors can increase the chances of a woman accessing services that will help her to quit.

However, while staff are being taught about the harms from smoking in pregnancy, training on how to communicate this to women, how to use basic equipment such as carbon monoxide monitors, and how to provide short effective advice to women is not being provided consistently around the country.

Report author Dr Misha Moore, a doctor in both Public Health and Obstetrics, who wrote the report for ASH, said: “Throughout this process, people would tell me the importance of reducing smoking in pregnancy ‘goes without saying’. But leaving things unsaid appears to be just the problem. The majority of staff are clear on the risks of smoking, but not all are quite so clear on how they could help women to stop. Simple, low cost, training delivered by every Trust in the country could go a long way to addressing this issue.”

Francine Bates, Chief Executive of the Lullaby Trust and co-chair of the Smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group said: “Tragically smoking causes ill health and death among babies in this country every day. We know that pregnant women listen to their midwife and their obstetrician. With the right training, they could make a big difference to the number of women smoking in pregnancy.”

Will Quince MP, co-chair of the APPG on Baby Loss, said: “Undergraduates must not leave midwifery and medical schools simply with knowledge on harms from smoking. They need practical skills so their interaction with a woman who smokes actually helps her to quit. These must not only be taught but be tested too.”

Antoinette Sandbach MP, co-chair of the APPG on Baby Loss, said: “Smoking is an addiction and it can be very hard to give up without the right support. Health professionals need to be sensitive and non-judgemental in the ways they encourage women to give up smoking. Building this into training and professional development is vital.”

The report also highlights that training of maternity staff is not enough on its own. There has to be co-ordination with the local services that help women to quit smoking.

Bob Blackman MP, Chair of the APPG on Smoking and Health said: “Stop smoking support is incredibly cost effective. Every local area needs to find a way of maintaining these vital services, particularly for pregnant women.”

ENDS

Notes and Links:

Members of the Smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group are available for interview and for more information and an ISDN line available for interviews. Please contact ASH on 020 7404 0242 or out of hours Hazel Cheeseman on 07754 358 593.

The full report is available here, and the executive summary is here.

References

[1] Smokefree Skills: a review of maternity workforce training is published by ASH on behalf of the Smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group. For a copy of the executive summary and full report please contact ASH: 020 7404 0242

[2] Action on Smoking and Health is a health charity working to eliminate the harm caused by tobacco use. You can find more information here. ASH co-ordinates the Smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group.

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

[3] The Smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group was founded in 2012 in response to a challenge by the then Public Health Minister to identify means to reduce rates of smoking in pregnancy. It is a coalition of public health organisations, baby charities and medical royal colleges, co-ordinated by ASH.

[4] The All Party Parliamentary Group on Baby Loss is co-chaired by Antoinette Sandbach MP and Will Quince MP. The secretariat is provided by The Lullaby Trust. The APPG’s overall aims are to develop policy that supports families dealing with the grief and loss of a baby, and to raise awareness of what more can be done by the government, Parliament or other agencies to help those affected. You can learn more about the APPG here.

[5] The All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health is chaired by Bob Blackman MP. The secretariat is provided by ASH. The purpose of the APPG is to monitor and discuss the health and social effects of smoking; to review potential changes in existing legislation to reduce levels of smoking; to assess the latest medical techniques to assist in smoking cessation; and to act as a resource for the group’s members on all issues relating to smoking and public health. You can learn more about the APPG here.

ASH response to House of Lords Select Committee inquiry into the Long-Term Sustainability of the NHS

23 September 2016

ASH response to House of Lords Select Committee inquiry into the Long-Term Sustainability of the NHS

Impact of the Spending Review on health and social care: ASH comment

19 July 2016.   A new report published by the House of Commons Health Committee on the Impact of the Spending Review on Health and Social Care has recognised that “cuts to public health budgets set out in the Spending Review threaten to undermine the necessary upgrade to prevention and public health set out in the Five Year Forward View”. It goes on to call such cuts a “false economy” which it suggests may “create avoidable costs in the future.” [1]

160718-Health-Committee-impact-of-the-spending-review-on-health-and-social-care.docx

Briefing: Smoking and surgery

This document was created by ASH in partnership with the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, the Royal College of Anaesthetists and the Faculty of Public Health. It was endorsed by the Royal College of Surgeons, Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of General Practitioners. It has been designed for health professionals and commissioners, to provide clear advice and examples of good practice in relation to smoking and surgery.

Joint Briefing: Smoking and Surgery

NAO consultation: costs and benefits of regulation – ASH response

ASH response to a National Audit Office consultation on reducing regulation.

NAO_RRconsultation_ASHresponse.pdf
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