Quit smoking for World Alzheimer’s Day
Friday the 21st September is World Alzheimer’s Day. A number of factors increase your risk of developing the condition, including smoking.
The disease is thought to be caused by the abnormal build-up of proteins in and around brain cells, and although the cause of the process is unknown, we do know that it begins many years before symptoms appear. As brain cells become affected, certain parts of the brain shrink, usually beginning with regions responsible for memory. As the disease progresses, hallucinations, anxiety and personality changes become more common.
Source: Sunderland Echo, 16 September 2018
North Yorkshire: Smokefree places fund reopened
A fund to help make North Yorkshire’s public spaces smokefree has been reopened by the County Council. The fund was launched last October as part of efforts to promote a smokefree lifestyle.
County Councillor Caroline Dickinson said: “Applications for funding are welcomed from any organisation responsible for public spaces which is permitted to allocate places as smokefree. Funding can be used for community events, signs and events to promote a smokefree lifestyle.”
Source: York Press, 17 September 2018
North Yorkshire: Campaign urges smokers to quit for the sake of their families
Breathe 2025’s hard-hitting “Don’t Be The 1” campaign highlights how one in two long-term smokers will die from a smoking-related disease. It asks smokers to quit once and for all for the sake of their loved ones.
Katie Needham, consultant in public health for North Yorkshire, said “Worryingly, surveys show nine out of ten smokers underestimate the one in two risk, with about half believing their risk to be one in ten or less. Smoking tobacco is much more harmful than most people think. It might be tempting to say ‘this won’t happen to me’ but a one in two chance is odds that nobody would want.”
County Councillor Caroline Dickinson, executive member for public health, prevention and supported housing, said: “The ‘Don’t Be The 1’ campaign starts the run-up to Stoptober – the country’s mass stop smoking attempt – and there are more ways to quit than ever before. We are urging people to give it a go.”
Don’d Be The 1, Smoking kills 1 in 2
Source: Whitby Gazette, 14 September 2018
East Yorkshire: Kick-off for smokefree sidelines
The first junior football match in east Yorkshire with smokefree sidelines happened on Sunday the 16th of September. It’s hoped the ban will promote healthy lifestyles and reduce the chances of children seeing adults smoking.
Smoking rates in Hull have fallen steadily, but remain above the national average, with 27% of adults in Hull and 11% in the East Riding smoking.
Keith Pinder, from the Hull and District Youth Football League, said, “As part of creating a safe environment for children and young adults to play football this is very much a positive step forward and one which is being embraced by our clubs. Parents, family and coaches are real role models for our players and it is important we give them the right message.”
Source: KCFM, 14 September 2018
Affordable vaping for smokers in poor countries branded a ‘human rights issue’
Researchers addressing a 300-strong audience at a tobacco industry conference in London have discussed the importance of making harm reduction products available to those living in poor countries as well as rich ones. There are 1.1 billion smokers worldwide and 6 million die each year as a direct result of smoking, according to the World Health Organisation. A single cigarette contains more than 200 carcinogenic chemicals, as well as the addictive stimulant nicotine. There is not yet agreement on the pros and cons of long-term nicotine use.
Substance use expert Helen Redmond told the tobacco and vaping industry representatives that poor countries should not be priced out of nicotine-based products that could potentially help them quit smoking.
Clinical psychologist Karl Fagerström called for research into the positive benefits of nicotine, which he believes can aid people suffering from Alzheimer’s and depression. He also advised that the industry should move from combustible to nicotine-based products.
Martin Jarvis, emeritus professor of health psychology at University College London, said the US (where the Food and Drug Administration is eager to reduce the level of nicotine in cigarettes) was moving towards prohibition-type enforcement. He said, “Society doesn’t understand nicotine…because they think it is particularly bad.” However, Jarvis said “describing nicotine as being addictive is justified”, adding that “80% of smokers wished they never started”.
Source: The Guardian, 14 September 2018
US: Health Secretary backs FDA’s proposed ban on e-cigarette flavours
The US Health and Human Services Secretary, Alex Azar, has said he is “completely in support” of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) proposed ban on e-cigarette flavours.
“We are not going to permit e-cigarettes to become a pathway to nicotine dependency” Azar said in an interview with CNBC. He said he disagreed with the belief that banning e-cigarettes would push youth towards traditional cigarettes.
FDA Commissioner, Scott Gottlieb, said on Wednesday the agency was considering a ban on flavoured e-cigarettes from Juul Labs and other companies as it grapples with an “epidemic” of youth e-cigarette use that threatened to create a new generation of nicotine addicts.
Source: Reuters, 14 September 2018
Wales: Increase in people quitting smoking but services still falling short of 5% target
There has been an increase in the number of smokers in Wales quitting with the help of the NHS. Welsh Government statistics show nearly 15,000 people in Wales were treated by the NHS Wales’ Help Me Quit service, in the year ending 31 March 2018. This is in contrast to the rest of the UK where numbers of smokers seeking NHS treatment and support has declined in recent years.
Christian Heathcote-Elliott from Public Health Wales said, “Stopping smoking is hard, but it is the best thing you can do for your health, your wallet and your loved ones. Your chances of making a successful quit attempt are four times greater with NHS support than by going it alone. This is a message we’re trying to get to 190,000 smokers in Wales who try to stop every year.”
However, the Welsh Government has still fallen short of its annual goal to treat 5% of smokers with NHS stop smoking services. Action on Smoking and Health Cymru chief executive Suzanne Cass has therefore labelled the latest figures “disappointing”.
Sources: Brexit news, 29 August 2018
ITV News, 29 August 2018
Opinion: Why don’t we treat addiction to smoking like any other critical condition?
In this blog, Alison Cook (director of policy at the British Lung Foundation) and Hazel Cheeseman (director of policy at Action on Smoking and Health) argue that smoking is too often seen as a lifestyle choice and not something requiring medical treatment.
“New data released by NHS Digital highlights the continued decline in the use of stop smoking services across England. If you smoke, treatment to quit can literally save your life. So why is it that access to this life saving treatment is completely dependent on where you live?
This is wrong. Every smoker must have equal access to stop smoking services and medication. As the leading preventable cause of death and health inequalities in the UK, the addiction to smoking must be treated in the same way as any other critical condition. Continuing to ignore discrimination against smokers will only deepen health inequalities. Something this government promised to eradicate.
ASH and the BLF want to see national government action so smokers, wherever they live, have the best chance of quitting. This means putting money back into the public health grant and increasing rather than restricting prescribing by GPs.”
Source: Huff Post, 29 August 2018
Are smoking cessation services the most effective way to quit?
In this episode of You and Yours, Winifred Robinson speaks to Professor Robert West, Director of Tobacco Studies at University College London, about stopping smoking.
Professor West said, “The evidence is very clear and has been accumulated over many decades from very high quality randomised trials and field studies which tell us that the most effective way of stopping smoking is to see a specialist stop smoking adviser and together with that and a prescription for a stop smoking medicine. In the best circumstances, it will quadruple your chances of stopping smoking and there’s nothing to rival it…I think there could be a case for saying that interest in stop smoking services has declined, but a big part of that is actually from our evidence not so much the rise in e-cigarettes, but the lack of publicity and promotion of those services.”
Source: BBC Radio 4, You and Yours (21 minutes)
US: A look at NYC’s tobacco-free pharmacy law not helping reduce inequalities
In 2018, New York City implemented a tobacco-free pharmacy law as part of a comprehensive approach to curb tobacco use. A new study which models the reduction in tobacco retailer density following the ban to examine differences in the policy’s impact across neighbourhoods has found that whilst the law substantially reduces tobacco retailer density overall, the impact is not evenly distributed across neighbourhoods.
The researchers based their analysis on a 2017 list of all licensed tobacco retailers in the City, including 510 pharmacies that held tobacco licenses. Tobacco retailer density per 1000 residents was calculated before and after removing pharmacies from the sample.
The results showed that high-income neighbourhoods in Manhattan and the more suburban outskirts of other boroughs were most likely to benefit from the new policy, experiencing the largest reductions in retailer density. In contrast, more disadvantaged neighbourhoods in the city frequently experienced little to no change in retailer density as a result of the new law. Areas where adults lacked a high school education and had a higher proportion of uninsured residents benefited less from the policy.
Source: Bright Surf, 29 August 2018
Africa: ‘Prime target’ for tobacco companies
Tobacco companies view Africa a major destination for tobacco production and consumption, a new study has found. The research, produced by University of Cape Town’s Economics of Tobacco Control Project (ETCP), says that as a developing continent, Africa has become a “prime target” for the tobacco industry.
The researchers said, “Consumers in Africa are now able to afford cigarettes and coupled with weak tobacco control laws, this has resulted in the tobacco industry focusing its attention on increasing its market presence.” The study also found that although the total cigarette demand in Africa seemed to be driven primarily by population growth, many countries were also reporting increased smoking rates.
PLOS one, Trends in cigarette demand and supply in Africa
Source: Fin24, 29 August 2018