Just one in 10 of us will be smokers in 2023, say health officials
Health officials have estimated that just 1 in 10 people will be smokers in five years’ time. Public Health England (PHE) said that smoking rates among adults in England are expected to fall from the current level of 14.9% to around 10% by 2023. The number of smokers in England has already fallen by more than a million since 2014, it added.
The estimate comes as PHE launched its annual Stoptober campaign, encouraging smokers to quit in October. The campaign will see the introduction of a free online personal quit plan service, which provides smokers with a suggested combination of support based on their level of tobacco dependency and what quitting support they have used previously. It will be available from Thursday ahead of the official start of the campaign on the 1st of October. PHE estimates that of the 6.1 million smokers in England, around six in 10 want to quit.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of health charity ASH (Action on Smoking and Health), said: “There are almost as many different ways of quitting as there are smokers, but to succeed smokers need motivation. ASH is delighted to see Stoptober is back on TV with a new ad campaign, which will raise awareness and provide valuable additional encouragement for smokers trying to quit with Stoptober.”
Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “Councils remain committed to helping smokers quit, however this is made all the more difficult by the Government’s reductions to the public health budget, which councils use to fund stop-smoking services. We have long argued that this is a short-term approach which will only compound acute pressures for NHS services further down the line.”
Stoptober, Personal Quit Plan
The Telegraph, Smoking will be ‘eradicated in England by 2030’
BBC, ‘Don’t go cold turkey’ to quit smoking
Rye & Battle Observer, Smokers in East Sussex urged to kick the habit during Stoptober
Viking FM, Stoptober returns to Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire
Downs Mail, Increase your chances of quitting smoking with national campaign
Hartlepool Mail, Smoking-related hospital admissions in Hartlepool hit eight year high
Source: Free Press, 20 September 2018
Public health campaigns “incredibly good value for money”
Investing money in the Stoptober campaign leads to better results, says Professor Robert West, who was involved in the evaluation of the campaign in its first year. The review into the first Stoptober campaign estimated that it generated an additional 350,000 quit attempts, and led to a “significant increase in the quit attempt rate in that specific month compared to other months of the year,” according to Professor West.
Professor West said that public health campaigns are “incredibly good value for money in terms of public health benefit.” However, he also stated “it’s always a battle for the people in Public Health England (PHE) to get agreements for funding to do it.”
An official report evaluating the 2016 Stoptober campaign sets out a significant drop in media spend for the campaign. The PHE document found “In 2016, competing priorities led to a significant budget reduction for Stoptober. Most notably, media spend was reduced from £3.1 million in 2015 to £390,000 in 2016.”
Source: Basingstoke Gazette, 20 September 2018
North East: Quitting smoking saves thousands of pounds
With the help of an e-cigarette, South Shields mum Deborah Davison gave up cigarettes in January after 40 years of smoking. Deborah says she has noticed significant improvements to her health and has already saved over £2,000.
Deborah said, “Generally, I feel much better and a number of people have noticed a difference in me. With the money I’ve saved I’ve been able to buy things for my grandchildren without waiting for pay day to come around and when my son started a new job and needed a new bus pass, I was able to buy it for him. I have helped my daughter purchase school uniforms for her children and it’s great to be able to support them. I’m planning to treat myself next year and go on holiday to somewhere hot and exotic.”
Councillor Tracey Dixon, lead member for independence and wellbeing at South Tyneside Council, said, “The number of people smoking in the Borough has reduced in the last five years but it is a sad statistic that almost 400 people still die in South Tyneside each year as a result of smoking. Quitting smoking is the single biggest thing you can do to improve your health and Stoptober is the perfect time to make that resolution to quit. While we would urge people to seek out the support of stop smoking services, vaping can also be an effective tool in helping people to kick the habit.”
Source: The Shields Gazette, 20 September 2018
US: Most citizens are still misinformed about e-cigarettes
A recent poll from Rasmussen found that 50% of Americans believe vaping is no safer than smoking cigarettes; 13% believe vaping is less safe than tobacco smoking; and 17% are unsure which is safer. Similarly, data compiled by the National Cancer Institute’s Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS), indicated that in 2017, the number of smokers believing e-cigarettes to be more harmful than regular cigarettes had increased since 2013.
Rasmussen, Most Say E-Cigarettes No Healthier Than Traditional Ones
Source: Vaping Post, 19 September 2018
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
A time to quit: supporting smoking cessation in general practice
Following evidence released by the British Lung Foundation (BLF) showing a 75% decline in the number of stop smoking aids dispensed between 2005 and 2017, Practice Business has highlighted what GP practices can do to support cessation and help reduce smoking rates.
Practices play a key role in providing information and advice about smoking cessation services and motivating smokers to quit. Health professionals should identify smokers and offer advice and cessation support, particularly when the patient has a health condition which is caused or exacerbated by smoking.
National risk assessments should be used to identify people aged between 40 and 74 who are at risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, type 2 diabetes and certain types of dementia, so that they can receive advice on achieving and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and be referred to stop smoking support where relevant.
Source: Practice Business, 20 August 2018
Lancashire County Council health lead backs MPs e-cigarette report
Lancashire County Council’s health lead, Councillor Shaun Turner, has backed the Science and Technology Select Committee’s recommendation that vaping be encouraged as an alternative to smoking.
The Committee highlighted evidence showing that e-cigarettes are significantly less harmful than tobacco cigarettes and could help to accelerate already declining smoking rates.
Councillor Turner said: “E-cigarettes can also help as an alternative way to quit. Cancer Research UK highlight that all the evidence so far points to e-cigarettes being far less harmful than tobacco products and that they can help people stop smoking. We would only recommend them as a tool to help people stop smoking. We’d never recommend people to take up vaping if they don’t currently vape or smoke.”
Source: Lancashire and Morecambe Citizen, 20 August 2018
Scotland: NHS Highland joins campaign to stop adults buying tobacco for under-18s
NHS Highland’s improvement team and Highland Council’s trading standards team have been working with ASH Scotland to support the charity’s #notafavour initiative.
The initiative consists of a series of videos, produced with the help of students at Inverness College UHI, highlighting the problem of adults buying cigarettes for under-18s.
Inverness College UHI’s wellbeing officer Claire Killburn-Young said: “Inverness College UHI is also a member of ASH Scotland’s Charter for a Tobacco-free Generation, so it’s an issue we are really passionate about. We hope these videos have the desired effect and discourage adults form purchasing tobacco for young people.”
Source: The Press and Journal, 20 August 2018
US: Child passive smoking increases chronic lung risk
A recent study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine (AJPM) shows that non-smoking adults have a higher risk of dying from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) if they grew up with parents who smoked.
The researchers found that secondhand smoke exposure in both childhood and adulthood was associated with a higher risk of mortality from COPD and vascular disease, and warn that childhood passive smoking was “likely to add seven deaths to every 100,000 non-smoking adults dying annually”.
Hazel Cheeseman, Director of Policy at ASH, said: “This latest study adds to the compelling case to take smoke outside to protect children from harm. The best way to do this is for parents to quit.”
Dr Nick Hopkinson, medical adviser to the British Lung Foundation, agreed, saying: “Passive smoking has a lasting impact well beyond childhood. Unfortunately, stop smoking services in the UK are being cut. We need to make sure that everyone, especially parents of young children and pregnant women who smoke, get the help they need to quit.”
Source: BBC, 19 August 2018
American Journal of Preventative Medicine: Secondhand Smoke Exposure in Childhood and Adulthood in Relation to Adult Mortality Among Never Smokers
Australian tobacco taxes set to rise again
Australia—which has the world’s highest tax rate on cigarettes—is set to raise its tobacco tax rate by 12.5% from 1 September.
However, tobacco can be purchased at a lower price from black market sellers and discount tobacco websites that charge up to 70% less than retailers.
The Australian Taxation Office and the Department of Home Affairs estimates that illicit tobacco costs the government $600 million every year.
Source: Mail on Sunday, 20 August 2018
Japan: British American Tobacco to raise prices alongside October tax rise
British American Tobacco Japan (BATJ) is set to raise its tobacco product prices alongside the planned tobacco tax increase on 1 October.
This would see BATJ product prices rising by ¥30 to ¥40 per 20 pack, in addition to the ¥1 per cigarette tax increase.
In addition, Philip Morris plans to file for a price increase of ¥40 which would see the cost of Marlboro cigarettes rise from ¥470 to ¥510.
Source: Japan Times, 20 August 2018
US: Small study finds potential link between e-cigarette use and DNA damage
A small study at the University of Minnesota has found a potential link between regular e-cigarette use and DNA damage which could contribute to cancer.
The researchers analysed saliva samples from five e-cigarette users for traces of chemical compounds which are known to damage DNA. Compared with people who don’t vape, four of the five e-cigarette users showed increased DNA damage. The study does not show how this compares to the damage caused by smoking cigarettes.
Source: ecancer News, 20 August 2018
Link Of The Week
Vaping should be promoted by UK government, say MPs
MPs on the Commons Science and Technology Committee have taken a pragmatic view in their report on e-cigarettes, which was published today. They argue that vaping is much less harmful than smoking, and that the UK government should therefore actively support e-cigarettes to reduce the death and disease caused by tobacco.
Data published by ASH on Thursday ahead of the Committee’s report showed that vaping by young people in Britain is rare and largely confined to those who already smoke tobacco. Just 2% of youths use e-cigarettes at least weekly, while another 2% use them occasionally (once a month or less). ASH has found the vast majority of adult e-cigarette users in the UK are current or, increasingly, former smokers, most of whom are trying to stay off cigarettes or reduce the amount they smoke. Only a tiny fraction (3%) have never smoked regularly.
Hazel Cheeseman, director of policy at ASH, said: “There has been widespread concern that e-cigarettes will cause more young people to take up smoking but these fears are unfounded. Today’s data shows that despite some evidence of experimentation, regular use is rare and almost exclusively found among a declining number of children who smoke tobacco cigarettes.”
Science and Technology Committee:E-Cigarettes
The Times, Relax ban and let people vape on buses and trains, MPs urge
Gibraltar Chronicle, E-cigarettes can be key weapon in battle against smoking, insist MPs
Mail Online, Outcry as MPs back call to relax rules around smoking e-cigarettes in public while making the devices easier to get on prescription
TMSS Magazine, Stress-free e-cigarettes authorized pointers would cut smoking deaths, explain MPs
Reuters, Lawmakers want British vaping rules relaxed to help smokers quit
The Sun, E-cigarettes should be free on the NHS – and vaping in the office allowed, to slash smoking deaths
Bailiwick Express UK, Helpful or harmful – what is the truth about e-cigarettes?
The Yorkshire Post, E-cigarettes – Important stop smoking aid or public health risk?
Source: Financial Times 17 August 2018
Charities slam ‘Postcode lottery’ faced by smokers seeking support to quit
Statistics have today illustrated a large disparity in the rates of smokers across England who successfully gave up smoking using the free NHS services. Public health budget cuts have meant thousands of smokers have been left to quit without the vital support they need to make a successful attempt.
Access to the stop smoking services, which are vital in helping people quit, varies depending on how well funded local authorities are. For example, just 24% of smokers who tried to give up managed to in Cumbria in the past year, compared to Staffordshire, where success rates were 88%.
Ash, Cancer Research UK and other health organisations have long argued the tobacco industry should be forced to pay to address the harm smoking causes and it is estimated tobacco companies in the UK make a collective profit of about £1 billion a year.
Alison Cook, director of policy at the British Lung Foundation, warned NHS stop smoking services are vital in response to the statistics. She said, “It’s disappointing to see a further decline in the use of stop smoking services across England. People who get professional help to quit smoking, from their doctor or pharmacist, are most likely to succeed. This data confirms visiting the GP is still the preferred route of support for people who want to quit. Our research found this support remains a postcode lottery.’ Ms Cook urged the Government to ‘act urgently to ensure every smoker has access to the help they need to quit’.
Source: Mail Online 17 August 2018
Public review of e-cigarettes needed, says Vape Business Ireland
The Irish vape industry has called for a public hearing on cigarette alternatives after a UK committee report found that vaping was not a gateway to cigarette smoking. Vape Business Ireland (VBI) said the Irish government needed to “take heed” of the growing consensus on vaping. It said public health bodies around the world had endorsed vaping as a safer alternative to smoking.
The Irish Department of Health has said it does not have enough evidence to recommend vaping as part of the Tobacco Free Ireland programme. The initiative aims to reduce smoking rates from 22% to less than 5% by 2025.
Responding to the report by the Science and Technology Committee, Michael Kenneally, of VBI, said its members did not endorse a position that vaping is “without risk” or “safe”. He said, “Such a binary distinction is highly unscientific, for example air travel is safe, yet some planes crash,” he said. “The key is to put risk and harm in context and I think this is a position that never gets discussed in Ireland.”
Source: The Times 17 August 2018
US: Report suggests millennials will see smoking deaths drop by at least 20%
Tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of preventable death and disease around the world. However, there is growing evidence suggesting vaping is an invaluable harm reduction aid and a useful smoking cessation tool.
For example, a study published in Nicotine and Tobacco Research has concluded that the generation of people born after 1997 will likely see a 21% drop in smoking-related deaths in a large part thanks to the advent of vapes. The study was led by tobacco control expert, Dr. David Levy of the Georgetown University Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Centre.
Nicotine and Tobacco Research, The Application of Decision-Theoretic Model to Estimate the Public Health Impact of Vaporized Nicotine Product Initiation in the Unites States
Source: ChurnMag, 16 August 2018
Link Of The Week
ASH Fact Sheet on youth e-cigarette use
ASH’s Youth Smokefree GB Survey 2018, has found that youth use of e-cigarettes remains low, with 76% of 11 – 18 year olds reporting that they’ve never tried an e-cigarette, and a further 7% saying they are unaware of them.
Regular use of e-cigarettes is almost entirely confined to those who have already smoked tobacco. Youth use of e-cigarettes does not seem to be leading to tobacco use, with the 2018 survey results showing only 6% of young people are current smokers
Source: ASH, 16 August 2017
Teenagers wrongly think vaping is as bad as smoking
New evidence from ASH shows that 28% of teenagers believe that vaping is as dangerous as smoking, compared to 11% five years ago.
Social media scare stories as well as misleading advice from doctors and teachers could have contributed to a general suspicion of vaping among young people. This is despite research published by Public Health England which shows that e-cigarettes are up to 95% less harmful than cigarettes.
Hazel Cheeseman, Director of Policy at ASH, said: “Given that young people are likely to consume news in the soundbite-heavy world of social media, it is not at all surprising the more complex message about relative risks are lost on them. We know the public in general also hold inaccurate beliefs about the harms from vaping which includes doctors, teachers and parents. I do think it’s important for young people to accurately understand that vaping is many magnitudes less risky than smoking.”
Source: The Times, 15 August, 2018
Juul Labs may face barriers to UK market growth
Juul Labs, the popular US e-cigarette manufacturer is set to exceed its initial sales target in the UK.
Juul holds 71% of the US e-cigarette market and launched in the UK last month. The popularity of the Juul e-cigarette has been partly attributed to its use of nicotine salts to deliver a faster ‘hit’ and its unique product design. Linda Bauld, professor of health policy at the University of Stirling said: “It’s a very slick, compact device in contrast to most vaping products.”
However, a tougher regulatory environment and greater competition could limit the company’s potential for replicating the kind of market dominance they hold in the US. UK and EU legislation bans almost all e-cigarette advertising and restricts the amount of nicotine in the products compared to the US. This combined with competition from existing tobacco companies and a number of smaller e-cig manufacturers could also present Juul with challenges.
Source: Financial Times, 15 August 2018
US: Smokers better off quitting, even with weight gain
A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has found that smokers who gain weight after quitting still have better health outcomes than if they never quit.
Researchers from the Harvard-led study examined the prevalence of diabetes and other health conditions in people who quit smoking. They found that people who quit had a mild elevation in their risk of type 2 diabetes for up to six years after quitting but that this risk does not endure. Even the quitters who gained the most weight had a 50% lower risk of dying prematurely from heart disease or other causes, compared to smokers.
Doctor Qi Sun, one the study’s authors, said: “Regardless of the amount of weight gain, quitters always have a lower risk of dying [prematurely]”.
Source: AP News, 15 August 2018
The New England Journal of Medicine: Smoking Cessation, Weight Change, Type 2 Diabetes, and Mortality
Report compares global cities’ air pollution levels to harm caused by tobacco
New research published by the European Transport and Environment Association (ETEA) ranks popular European tourist destinations according to their air pollution rates.
The researchers draw parallels about the impact of air pollution and smoking cigarettes in order to raise awareness about the less known risks of living in a big city. According to the ETEA a four day stay in Prague or Istanbul is equivalent to smoking 4 cigarettes, compared to London where four days is equivalent to smoking 2.75 cigarettes.
Source: Euronews, 13 August 2018
See also: ETEA Press Release
Editorial note: Comparing air pollution with smoking cigarettes could be problematic because it assumes the toxicity of particulate matter (PM2.5) from all sources is equivalent, which is not the case. Particulate matter from cigarettes is likely to be significantly more toxic than from the range of sources which contribute to air pollution (diesel/petrol combustion, wind-blown soil etc.). Additionally, air pollution exposure is spread fairly consistently over 24 hours, unlike smoking which is punctuated by very intense inhaled concentrations over short periods. It is likely that a short exposure to high amounts of particulate matter may cause cellular changes/health effects where a much lower, prolonged exposure does not.
Dr Sean Semple, Associate Professor at the Institute for Social Marketing at the University of Stirling
Smoking scenes still common in one third of prime-time TV programmes
A total of 611 programmes, 909 adverts and 211 trailers were analysed for a recent study, which found that smoking remains common on UK prime-time TV despite broadcasting regulations designed to protect children from its glamorisation. Channel 5 was the channel with most tobacco content, while BBC2 had the least.
Tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, including paid product placement in TV adverts, is illegal in the UK. But imagery of smoking in TV programmes and trailers is exempt, and is instead regulated by Ofcom’s, broadcasting code.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health, said “’The number of smokers in the UK has fallen significantly since 2010 yet this research finds smoking is just as common on our screens. Given the proven link to childhood smoking Ofcom and the BBFC, which regulate TV and films, need to take the necessary steps to warn parents of the risks and protect our children from the harmful effects of tobacco imagery.”
Tobacco Control, Content analysis of tobacco content in UK television
Source: Mail Online, 14 August 2018
Research raises questions over long term safety of vaping
A new study from Birmingham University suggests e-cigarettes can disable the immune system’s ability to clear the lungs and prevent harmful chemical buildups. The research, which was based on lung cells extracted from healthy volunteers who had never smoked, found some of the harms were equivalent to those seen with tobacco smoking.
However, Professor John Britton, director of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies at the University of Nottingham said: “This study demonstrates evidence that lung cells exposed to electronic cigarette vapour become inflamed, as would be expected given that electronic cigarette vapour contains oxidant and other pro-inflammatory constituents. This indicates that long-term use of electronic cigarettes is likely to have adverse effects, as is widely recognised by leading health authorities in the UK including the Royal College of Physicians and Public Health England. However, since electronic cigarettes are used almost exclusively in the UK by current or former smokers, the key question is how this adverse effect compares with that of exposure to cigarette smoke. The harsh truth is that smoking kills, and smokers who switch completely to electronic cigarettes are likely to substantially reduce the likelihood of premature death and disability.”
BMJ, Pro-inflammatory effects of e-cigarette vapour condensate on human alveolar macrophages
Mirror, Vaping can cause serious lung damage and should be treated with caution, scientists warn
Telegraph, Vaping may damage immune system and lead to lung disease, study suggests
BBC News, Vaping ‘can damage vital immune system cells’
Source: Daily Mail, 13 August 2018
West Sussex: Shop fined thousands for selling illegal cigarettes
The director of a shop which sold illegal tobacco has been ordered to pay a £2,000 fine, after pleading guilty to four offences relating to the possession and sale of illegal tobacco.
This followed an investigation by West Sussex Trading Standards, which visited the shop in the True Blue Precinct in Wick in September last year and seized nine packs of cigarettes from the stockroom and more than 100 packets from a vehicle outside the shop, a Trading Standards spokesman said.
Richard Sargeant, trading standards team manager, said: “We are encouraging people to remain vigilant and to report the sale of illicit tobacco and cigarettes.”
Source: Shoreham Herald, 13 August 2018
Rochdale: Festival goes smokefree
This year’s Rochdale Feel Good Festival, which will take place on Saturday 18 August 2018, will make its Family Zone smokefree for the first time. Smokefree events are being held across Greater Manchester this summer as areas consider creating more permanent smokefree outdoor areas. The festival will have plenty of information to support healthy communities.
Source: Rochdale Borough Council, 13 August 2018
Scotland: New life breathed into Dumfries and Galloway smoking strategy
NHS Dumfries and Galloway’s Smoking Matters service is looking at new ways to improve its smoking cessation strategy, including using social media and virtual clinics to engage with smokers.
The service was tasked with helping at least 232 people in deprived areas quit smoking over the last twelve months. However, after nine months the service has only managed to help 126 people quit, prompting a review of its strategy.
It is estimated that £15-20 million is spent in the region each year treating tobacco-related illnesses.
Source: BBC, 3 August 2018
US: Juul reveals plans for smart Bluetooth e-cigarettes that prevent use among teenagers
US e-cigarette company, Juul, is planning to launch a Bluetooth enabled e-cigarette with an age verification system, to prevent teenagers from using its products.
The company has publicly acknowledged that schoolchildren in the US are using Juul e-cigarettes and is proposing a range of measures to ensure that future products cannot be used by anyone under the age of 18. The new e-cigarettes will use biometric data to prove a smoker’s age and won’t work near schools.
A Juul spokesperson said: “We are actively evaluating new technologies and features to help keep Juul out of the hands of young people.”
Source: Mail on Sunday, 2 August 2018
E-Cigarette Sales Have Surged Immensely in the US
New research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that sales of e-cigarettes in the US have risen significantly over the last few years, increasing by 126% between 2012 and 2016.
Rechargeable e-cigarettes such as the Juul brand were the most popular type with sales increasing by 154% and average prices nearly halving between 2012 and 2016.
Brian King, senior author of the study and a deputy director in the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health, said: “It’s ultimately reflective of the changing landscape, and we’re seeing more of these pod mod devices such as Juul that are now entering the marketplace. It just reinforces the importance [for] us as a public health community to ensure that we’re considering the diversity of different e-cigarette products … so we can implement evidence-based strategies to ensure we’re preventing public health harm.”
Source: US News, 2 August 2018
Chinese tobacco regulators call for control on e-cigarettes
Chinese tobacco regulators are calling for more education and control on e-cigarettes, following several high profile examples of people using them in places where they are prohibited, including in the cockpit of an airoplane.
There are currently no national regulations applying to e-cigarettes but authorities in some Chinese cities, including Hangzhou City in east China’s Zhejiang Province, have ceased to make any distinction between vaping and smoking.
Zhang Jianshu, president of the Beijing Tobacco Control Association, said: “We are currently calling for relevant departments to look into regulation for standardized control on e-cigarettes.”
Source: CGTN, 2 August 2018
Netherlands: Plans to ban smoking on multiple Rotterdam streets
Officials in Rotterdam are considering banning smoking on multiple streets in the area around a local hospital and two educational institutions. The ban would make Rotterdam the first municipality in the Netherlands to ban smoking for entire streets.
Erasmus MC, the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences and the Erasmiaans Gymnasium – which are all based in the same part of the city – sent a letter to Rotterdam Mayor, Ahmed Aboutaleb, asking him to implement the ban to prevent smokers just moving onto neighbouring streets.
A spokesperson for the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences said: “We have trouble with dumped cigarette butts and are thinking about the health of the 30 thousand students, pupils, patients and employees who are here on a daily basis.”
Source: Nl Times, 3 August 2018
US: Hookah smoking raises cardiovascular risk comparable to traditional cigarette smoking, study finds
A new study published in the American Journal of Cardiology has found that just a half-hour of hookah smoking resulted in the development of cardiovascular risk factors similar to what has been seen with traditional cigarette smoking.
Hookah is exempt from the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act which prohibits the use of artificial or natural flavours in cigarettes. This is thought to contribute to hookah’s popularity among young people and college students.
Mary Rezk-Hanna, lead author of the study, said: “We know that flavoured tobacco products are frequently the first kind of tobacco product used by youth. One of the major issues with hookah is the fact that the tobacco is flavoured with fruit, candy and alcohol flavours, making hookah the most popular flavoured tobacco product among this audience. Our findings challenge the concept that fruit-flavoured hookah tobacco smoking is a healthier tobacco alternative. It is not.”
Source: Medical Xpress, 3 August 2018
American Journal of Cardiology: Acute Effect of Hookah Smoking on Arterial Stiffness and Wave Reflections in Adults Aged 18 to 34 Years of Age
Maternity units ‘could prevent 600 stillbirths a year in England’
A recent evaluation of maternity guidance in the NHS has found that around 600 stillbirths a year could be avoided if practical steps, including reducing smoking in pregnancy, were more widely implemented.
According to the evaluation conducted by the University of Manchester, implementation of the ‘Saving Babies Lives Care Bundle’ saved the lives of more than 160 babies over a two-year period.
Matt Hancock, the health secretary, said: “We still have more to do but these results demonstrate really positive progress towards our ambition to halve the rates of stillbirth, neonatal death and maternal death by 2025.”
Source: The Guardian, 29 July 2018
Juul’s UK launch raises questions
The popular US e-cigarette brand, Juul, has launched in the UK. Public Health England hope that the availability of Juul e-cigarettes will help the UK’s 7.5 million adult smokers switch from conventional cigarettes to significantly less harmful e-cigarettes.
However, the reported popularity of Juul e-cigarettes among US teenagers has triggered concerns over the susceptibility of British schoolchildren to the product. In response, the company has promised to implement stringent age checks in shops selling the product and will require ID checks for online purchases. British regulation also demands that Juul pods must be less than half their US strength and significantly restricts the amount of advertising the company is allowed to employ.
Hazel Cheeseman, of the public health charity ASH, said that there was “reason for optimism” about Juul’s introduction to the UK market. “It is a product that has potential to have mass appeal,” she said, notably to the 40 per cent of smokers who have not yet tried vaping.
Source: The Times, 28 July 2018
Rightwing UK thinktank ‘offered ministerial access’ to potential US donors
A recording has emerged showing Mark Littlewood, director of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), offering potential US donors access to British government ministers and civil servants. The IEA, which describes itself as the UK’s original free-market thinktank, is currently campaigning for a clean-break Brexit.
The recording was produced by Unearthed, an investigations unit set up by Greenpeace amid concerns about the IEA’s role in using Brexit to lower environmental standards.
In the video, Littlewood states that his organisation is in “the Brexit influencing game”, and claims the IEA could make introductions to senior ministers. As a registered educational charity the IEA is not allowed to engage in political lobbying, and these comments will likely raise questions about the thinktank’s independence and status.
Source: The Guardian, 30 July 2018
Study suggests non-smoking teens using e-cigarettes
A recent study of four schools in Warwickshire found that of 11.4% (57) of 11-16 year olds who had ever used an e-cigarette, nearly 53% were non-smokers. Just under 40% of the teenagers in the study did not know that e-cigarettes contained nicotine or that they were addictive. The authors of the study are calling for more education about e-cigarettes.
However, they acknowledge that caution is needed when interpreting the results due to the small sample size.
Source: Mail Online, 30 July 2018
Editorial Note: This study surveyed 499 students. The results, which found 15 students who had never smoked but were currently using an e-cigarette, should be seen in the context of larger representative studies. Bauld et al (2017) analysed data covering 60,000 11-16 year olds and found rates of regular e-cigarette use of between 0.1% and 0.5% among non-smokers.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health: Young People’s Use of E-Cigarettes across the United Kingdom: Findings from Five Surveys 2015-2017
Sunderland to reform Tobacco Control Alliance
Following the publication of new figures showing that Sunderland has the second highest number of adult smokers in England, health leaders have agreed to reform the Sunderland Tobacco Alliance to tackle smoking in the borough.
The data published by Public Health England shows that the smoking rate in Sunderland rose to 22.7% in 2017, bucking the national trend of steadily declining smoking rates.
The current target endorsed by Sunderland’s Health and Wellbeing Board (HWB) is a smoking prevalence of 5% by 2025.
Source: Chronicle Live, 30 July 2018
Wales: Young people in Gwynedd stamp out smoking
Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has shown that the percentage of Gwynedd’s population who have never smoked has risen by 35% since 2011, with more and more 18 to 24-year-olds choosing not to smoke.
Nationally this age group has 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, chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health, put this reduction down to banning tobacco advertising, stating “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.”
Source: Cambrian News, 23 July 2018
West Midlands: Sandwell council set to cut funding for stop smoking programme
On Wednesday the 25th of July Sandwell councillors are to discuss the possibility of cutting the stop smoking programme by £360,000, following a reduction in smokers from nearly 23% to 19% of adults in five years, and budget cutbacks.
Councillor Elaine Costigan, cabinet member for public health and protection, said smoking cessation is still a key priority for Sandwell. She stated, “Our budgets are under pressure due to the effects of government cuts but our expenditure on our work in this area will actually be similar to previous years because there has been under-spending in the past…The level of smoking in Sandwell remains significantly higher than the regional and national averages.”
She added: “Our new budget will be a better fit for this service, which will continue to target high prevalence of smoking in ‘hard to reach’ groups. We are also developing innovative ways of delivering stop smoking services through a self-help digital system and helping smokers to access services locally.”
Source: Ludlow & Tenbury Wells Advertiser, 23 July 2018
Opinion: UK faces a vaping dilemma as e-cigarettes puff up the glamour
Linda Bauld, professor of health policy at the University of Stirling and deputy director of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, examines the introduction of the e-cigarette Juul in the UK.
“Juul, the US’s most successful e-cigarette brand, launched in the UK last week. Though aimed at smokers looking to quit, Juul has proved very attractive to teenagers in the US. This has helped to prompt an international debate over whether the benefits of vaping for adult smokers outweigh the potential risks to young people who might otherwise not use a nicotine product.
E-cigarette use is supported by British public health agencies because research suggests these products are substantially less harmful than combustible tobacco. But some critics argue that youth access to Juul and other e-cigarettes should be prohibited. Before we succumb to fears that this new product will lead to widespread teen addiction, it is important to consider the context.
E-cigarettes are regulated differently in the UK and in the US. In the US, advertising of tobacco alternatives is widespread, whist in the UK, almost all forms of e-cigarette marketing are prohibited. A further difference is the nicotine content. Juul is sold with up to 50mg/ml nicotine in the US, whereas EU regulation limits it to 20mg/ml for all vaping products. Juul devices sold in the UK will have to comply with this limit, and this lower level of nicotine is likely to make the products less addictive.
Surveys have been tracking e-cigarette uptake in UK teenagers for years. One recent study we conducted pooled results from five surveys in 2016, involving more than 60,000 young people. It found that, although experimentation with existing e-cigarette models was not uncommon, regular vaping was almost entirely confined to young people who already smoked. In fact rates of regular use of e-cigarettes in non-smoking youth were less than 1%.”
Source: Financial Times, 24 July 2018
Opinion: Beware tobacco firm’s Trojan horse
Sandra Mullin (Senior vice-president, policy, advocacy and communication, Vital Strategies) claims Philip Morris’s overture to the NHS is part of a strategy to undermine tobacco control.
“Philip Morris International’s proposition to NHS bodies is not just a PR stunt – it’s part of a what looks like a strategy to undermine tobacco control, as leaked company papers seem to show.
Globally, PMI appears to be using e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products and its Foundation for a Smoke-Free World as Trojan horses in a strategy to drive a policy agenda that will suit its own business needs.
In our view, PMI is desperate to claim it is the critical element in reducing the harm caused by its own products and will no doubt use any link to the NHS to further its lobbying and marketing. Enabling it to co-opt the NHS would be a betrayal of everything the health service stands for.”
Source: Guardian, 22 July 2018
Europe: Clouds produced by e-cigarettes breakdown within seconds
A new study comparing vaping and smoking has found vaping has less of an impact on the surrounding air. While particles from cigarette smoke linger in the air for up to 45 minutes, researchers found that those stemming from e-cigarette products evaporate within seconds, even indoors. Even in the ‘worst case scenario,’ where there was no ventilation, the study found the particle count quickly returned to background levels.
Fontem Ventures, which is part of Imperial Brands, produced this research in collaboration with Kaunas University of Technology in Lithuania and the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, ETH Zurich.
Nicotine & Tobacco Research, Characterization of the Spatial and Temporal Dispersion Differences Between Exhaled E-Cigarette Mist and Cigarette Smoke
Source: Mail on Sunday, 23 July 2018
India: Take steps to prevent tobacco use on site, schools directed
The Delhi Government has issued guidelines to all schools in the capital requiring them to become “tobacco-free zones.”
The schools have been asked to nominate a health scheme officer to maintain their buildings as tobacco-free zones. “Tobacco-free zone” boards will have to be displayed at prominent places in school premises and “no smoking” signage boards will have to be displayed.
The schools have also been asked to give written notice to authorities if any tobacco product is sold within 100 meters of the school premises.
Source: The Pioneer, 24 July 2018
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
Belfast: Vaping ban in the grounds of hospitals
The Western Health and Social Care Trust has strengthened its strict no smoking policy to include no vaping on its hospital grounds. Staff are being warned that they may face disciplinary action if they fail to stick to the rules. Staff have been directed to ask carers and service users who smoke, to refrain from doing so an hour before any scheduled visit and while they are there.
Source: Belfast Telegraph, 27 June 2018
WTO to rule on landmark tobacco case later today (Thursday 28th June)
A World Trade Organization adjudication panel will rule today on a dispute over Australia’s tough tobacco packaging rules, widely seen as a test case for public health legislation globally.
The WTO said the ruling in the case, brought against Australia by Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Indonesia, would be published at around 1500 GMT. The ruling is expected to be appealed, the WTO’s chief judge has said.
Source: Reuters, 28 June 2018
Tokyo passes tough anti-smoking law ahead of 2020 Olympics
Tokyo, Japan’s capital and host of the 2020 Summer Olympics, passed a tough anti-smoking law on Wednesday that will effectively ban smoking in most of the city’s bars and restaurants in the run-up to the games. Japan lags behind many countries in efforts to fight smoking, with attempts to tackle tobacco often stymied by pro-smoking politicians, restaurateurs and Japan Tobacco, which is one-third owned by the government.
The new city law, which takes full effect several months before the Olympics open on July 24, 2020, bans smoking in any bar or restaurant with hired employees.
Source: Reuters, 27 June 2018
China: Court verdict paves way for smokefree railways
A provincial court ruled on Tuesday that the Harbin Railway Bureau (of Northeast China’s Heilongjiang province) should remove smoking zones and ashtrays in its trains and stations. In June last year, a college student sued the Harbin Railway Bureau because of the secondhand smoke she was forced to inhale on a train. The student claimed compensation of 102.5 yuan ($15.54), the price of her ticket, plus 1 yuan for mental distress, and sought the removal of all the smoking zones and ashtrays in the bureau’s railway stations and trains.
Legal Daily comments: “The judgment is meaningful as it is the first time that a railway department has been instructed by a court to ban smoking in its stations and on the trains it operates, which is directly related to the health and safety of hundreds of millions of passengers.”
According to the Railway Safety Administration Regulation that came into effect on Jan 1, 2014, smoking is strictly banned on high-speed trains and in the carriages of other trains. However, it is permitted in the connecting areas between carriages of non high-speed trains, where ashtrays are often installed. The smoke from these areas often drifts into the carriages, making all passengers exposed to secondhand smoke.
Source: China Daily, 28 June 2018
Hong Kong study: Breastfeeding mothers stop nursing sooner when living with smokers
Nursing mothers who live with two or more smokers are more likely to stop breastfeeding sooner than those who live in non-smoking households. In a Hong Kong-based study, researchers discovered that these mothers are at 30% higher risk for ending breastfeeding before a year.
The study examined a cohort of 1,277 mother and baby pairs from four major hospitals in Hong Kong. Researchers used self-reported questionnaires to collect demographic data, parental smoking habits, and other variable data.
Source: Bright Surf, 27 June 2018
See also: Breastfeeding Medicine, The Effects of Secondary Cigarette Smoke from Household Members on Breastfeeding Duration: A Prospective Cohort Study
Is the UK’s vape shop boom about to end?
There has been a rapid increase in the number of specialist vape shops in the UK in recent years. This reflects the popularity of the devices, which for many smokers are used as a way to quit smoking.
Fraser Cropper is the managing director of Totally Wicked, the UK’s biggest vaping shop chain with 140 stores, and is sceptical about the sustainability in the growth of the industry. “There’s definitely a change from undersupply to oversupply [of vape shops], I think we’re in a period of rationalisation now”. He also said a lot of stores need investment otherwise they will be forced to close.
The UK Vaping Industry Association (which has tobacco companies as members) says there are around 2,000 UK vaping outlets. This number is likely to grow “exponentially”, mirroring the growth of coffee and mobile phone shops, it adds.
Source: BBC News, 20 June 2018
Campaign to tackle illicit tobacco reports hundreds of tip offs
Tobacco control group Fresh has announced that their ‘Keep it Out’ campaign, launched in the North East in November, has successfully raised awareness about illegal tobacco. Local authority trading standards teams have since received more than 350 anonymous pieces of information about illegal tobacco sales and dealers
The campaign, to help the public report illegal tobacco and discourage smokers from buying it, has subsequently been rolled out in West Yorkshire.
Keep It Out featured radio adverts, a leaflet drop to 360,000 North East households, posters and flyers for local communities, beer mats for pubs and a guide for retailers.
A poll found that 60% of people who saw the campaign felt more concerned about illegal tobacco in their community, 40% said they would be less likely to buy it and more likely to report local sales, and 30% said they thought it would make illegal tobacco dealers think twice.
Source: Talking Retail, 20 June 2018
Vaping helps smokers quit – even if they don’t want to, study finds
Vaping helps smokers quit – even if they do not want to, new research suggests. Some 17% of e-cigarette users said they used to enjoy smoking and once had no intention of quitting, a study funded by Cancer Research UK has found.
The researchers interviewed 40 vapers, who were asked how long they used e-cigarettes, their favourite flavours and why they took up the habit, as well as about their previous attempts to quit smoking.
Lead author Dr Caitlin Notley, from the University of East Anglia, said: “We found that vaping may support long-term smoking abstinence. Not only does it substitute many of the physical, psychological, social and cultural elements of cigarette smoking, but it is pleasurable in its own right, as well as convenient and cheaper than smoking. Our study group also felt better in themselves – they noticed better respiratory function, taste and smell.”
Source: Daily Mail Online, 20 June 2018
See Also: London South Bank University: The unique contribution of e-cigarettes for tobacco harm reduction in supporting smoking relapse prevention
Study pushes back earliest date of tobacco usage in North America
A newly discovered tobacco pipe found at a tribal site in present-day Alabama indicates tobacco was used by the first Americans much earlier than previously thought.
The pipe, carved from limestone, tested positive for nicotine. It dates back about 3,500 years, making it about 1,500 years older than a pipe previously considered to be the oldest evidence of tobacco use in North America.
“This new discovery changes how we think about the past,” Dr. Stephen Carmody, an assistant professor of anthropology at Troy University in Alabama, said. “Tobacco is one of the most, if not the most, important plants to native peoples. We’ve now dated its use in our area 1,500 years earlier than the earliest dates we had.”
Source: Indianz, 19 June 2018
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
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
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.
Source: Medical Express, 16 May 2018
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
15 April 2018
In a strongly worded submission to the Select Committee on Science and Technology ASH and the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol studies warn that smoking on TV and in films encourages children to take up smoking . They point out that children in the UK are still exposed to significant amounts of smoking on screen and that it is the amount of smoking that is important, not whether it is glamourised or not.
The submission includes new survey results showing that 81% of 11-15 year olds and 88% of 16-18 year olds report seeing smoking in films. For TV the numbers reporting seeing smoking on TV were 68% of 11-15 year olds and 77% of 16-18 year olds.  One of the worst examples, included in the submission, was last summer’s reality TV programme Love Island. The series, which was very popular with teenagers, delivered an estimated 47 million gross tobacco impressions to children aged under 16.  The proportion of Oscar-listed films containing smoking this year was 86%, up from 60% four years ago, with smoking featuring by far and away most heavily in a PG rated British film, ‘Darkest Hour’.
Professor John Britton said:
“Seeing people smoking in the media can increase the likelihood that a young person takes up smoking by as much as 40%. It doesn’t matter whether the people smoking are heroes or villains, glamourous or otherwise. All smoking content is a role model which results in some young people becoming addicted to a lethal product for life.”
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH, said:
“Our surveys show children reporting high awareness of smoking on screen, particularly in films and TV. Ofcom and the BBFC, which regulate these sectors, need to take the necessary steps to warn parents of the risks and protect our children from the harmful effects of tobacco imagery.”
The submission includes new figures calculated by Cancer Research UK which show that despite declines in smoking prevalence a large number of young people are still taking up smoking causing significant harm to their health and wellbeing. Between 2014 and 2016 around 127,000 children a year started smoking for the first time , equivalent to 17 classrooms of secondary school children a day. Research shows that over 60% of those who try smoking go on to become regular smokers.
Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable premature death, killing over half all long-term smokers. While much of the damage is long-term there are immediate impacts too. Young smokers have a lower level of lung function than those who have never smoked and smoking reduces the rate of lung growth. 
George Butterworth, Senior Policy Manager at Cancer Research UK, said:
“Smoking is an addiction of childhood, not an adult choice. New figures published by Cancer Research UK show that 127,000 children start smoking each year in the UK. The introduction of standardised packaging of tobacco products, backed up the complete ban on advertising, leaves smoking in the entertainment media as the main way smoking is promoted to children. Yet parents seem unaware of the risks.”
Now that all advertising, promotion and sponsorship is banned in the UK, smoking in the entertainment media has become an increasingly important factor in youth smoking initiation. Yet a Yougov survey for ASH found that parents remain unconcerned about such exposure with 42% saying that there is the right amount of smoking on TV, 31% saying they don’t know, and only 23% saying there is too much. When it comes to adults with children under 18 in their household concern is even lower, with 20% of adults with thinking there is too much smoking on TV, and 45% that it is the right amount. 
The relevant regulators are Ofcom (TV and video on demand) and the BBFC (film and videos/DVDs including video games). The ASH and UKCTAS recommendations to the regulators, which they would like to see the Select Committee endorse , are that:
ASH and UKCTAS have already shared the evidence with Ofcom and are having very constructive discussions with Ofcom. Ofcom has agreed to review the evidence we have provided it with and undertake its own analysis of the impact of smoking depictions on young people, preparatory to making any decisions about how to proceed. ASH and UKCTAS have written to the BBFC this week with a copy of our submission asking to meet to discuss our recommendations with them.
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
 Survey conducted by YouGov for ASH online, via parents for 11-15 year olds and directly with 16-18 year olds. The 2018 survey had a sample of 2291 and the figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB 11-18 year olds. The fieldwork was carried out between 28th February and 17th March.
 Barker AB, Opazo Breton M, Cranwell J, et al. Population exposure to smoking and tobacco branding in the UK reality show ‘Love Island’. Tobacco Control Published Online First: 05 February 2018. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2017-054125
 Data calculated by the Statistical Information Team at Cancer Research UK using Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use in Young People in England 2016 data. Figures are the average per year between 2014 and 2016. Percentage of new smokers was calculated for each single-year age band, and ‘smoker’ was defined as ‘regular’, ‘occasional’ or ‘used to smoke’. For example, percentage of new smokers aged 13 in 2016, was calculated by subtracting the percentage of smokers aged 12 in 2015, from the percentage of smokers aged 13 in 2016. This calculation was used for ages 12, 13, 14 and 15; for age 11 all smokers were considered new smokers. 2015 figures were estimated as the average of 2014 and 2016, as no 2015 survey was carried out. Percentage of new smokers in England was applied to UK population estimates to obtain number of new UK smokers.
 National Statistics. Schools, pupils and their characteristics: January 2017. Figure G: Average one-teacher class size: secondary schools 20.8
 Max Birge, Stephen Duffy, Joanna Astrid Miler, Peter Hajek; What Proportion of People Who Try One Cigarette Become Daily Smokers? A Meta-Analysis of Representative Surveys, Nicotine & Tobacco Research, , ntx243, https://doi.org/10.1093/ntr/ntx243
 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking: 50 Years of Progress. A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014
 Survey conducted online by YouGov for ASH. Fieldwork for 2018 survey was undertaken between 8th February and 6th March. Total sample size was 12767 GB adults and the figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
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.  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%. 
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.” 
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. 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.” 
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.
 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.
 The latest YouGov survey can be downloaded from: http://ash.org.uk/download/use-of-e-cigarettes-among-adults-in-great-britain-2017/
 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:
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.”
 ONS Adult smoking habits in the UK: 2016. Published June 2017.
 DH. Tobacco Control Plan for England. July 2017.