ASH Daily News for 11 December 2019


  • Study: Smoking while pregnant increases the risk of gestational diabetes
  • Germany: Conservatives back ban on tobacco advertising
  • India: Doctors raise concern that ban on e-cigarettes will increase cancer and lung diseases cases


Study: Smoking while pregnant increases the risk of gestational diabetes

A new study has found that women who smoke while pregnant could be increasing their risk of developing gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine, and Ohio University, analysed data collected by the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from 222,408 women, of which 12,897 (5.3%) were diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

The women had been asked to report any changes in smoking status during pregnancy, including whether they were a non-smoker, had quit smoking, had reduced the amount smoked, or if they smoked the same or more, and self-report on whether they had gestational diabetes — a condition that can lead to higher risks for pregnancy and birth complications such as macrosomia (larger than average babies) and caesarean deliveries.

The findings showed that after taking into account well-known risk factors for gestational diabetes, such as maternal age, pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) and pregnancy weight gain, the pregnant women who smoked the same or more cigarettes per day as they did before becoming pregnant were nearly 50% more likely to develop gestational diabetes.

Reducing the number of cigarettes smoked each day did reduce the risk, but even women who cut down still had a 22% higher risk of gestational diabetes than women who had never smoked or who quit smoking at least two years before they became pregnant.

See also:
Obstetrics & Gynecology. Association Between Prenatal Smoking and Gestational Diabetes Mellitus. December 2019

Source: Yahoo! News, 10 December 2019

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Germany: Conservatives back ban on tobacco advertising

Germany’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and their Bavarian sister party, the CSU, have backed a plan to phase out tobacco advertising in outdoor areas from 2022. The issue has long been a source of debate within the country’s ruling conservative bloc, which had struggled to arrive at a common position and had blocked previous efforts to introduce such a ban.

A policy paper endorsed by the bloc’s parliamentary group on Tuesday 10th December said the move was necessary to confront “the biggest avoidable health risk of our time.” The document also pointed out that Germany is the only country in the European Union to still allow advertising in public spaces. The paper proposes that tobacco ads on outdoor posters and billboards be curbed from January 1, 2022. It also calls for a ban on cigarette advertising in cinemas from 2021, on tobacco heating product ads from 2023, and on e-cigarette advertising from 2024.

In Germany, around 120,000 people die annually from smoking-related causes. For years, health advocates have been calling for politicians to target tobacco advertising. Klaus Reinhardt, the head of the German Medical Association, welcomed the CDU/CSU decision, saying it was “high time we protected young people from picking up smoking and the serious health risks associated with it.”

Dirk Heidenblut of the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) — which have long supported ad bans — said the goal was to put forward legislation “as soon as possible to comprehensively ban outdoor advertising for tobacco products.”

Tobacco advertising is already banned in magazines, newspapers and on TV and radio in Germany. With the proposed bans in place in the future, advertising will still be allowed in other areas, such as inside tobacco shops, or at national sporting events.

Source: Deutsche Welle, 11 December 2019

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India: Doctors raise concern that ban on e-cigarettes will increase cancer and lung diseases cases

After India’s Parliament passed the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Bill 2019, doctors have raised concerns about people becoming vulnerable to chronic heart and lung diseases.

Dr Bharat Gopal, Senior Pulmonologist and Director of National Chest Centre, Delhi, said, “There is data available regarding e-cigarettes as smoking cessation devices from the UK, so Indian studies should have been taken up by the government as well as health organisations. A lot of smokers come to us asking for alternatives so that they can quit smoking. Hence, the government should at least allow research and studies to be conducted on these alternatives so that in the future, this could be a tool for smoking cessation. A ban will also give rise to a black market and the government will not have any control over it. It would have been in the greater public interest if the government would have regulated e-cigarettes and allowed more research on harm reduction tools.”

Dr Sree Sucharitha, a Researcher at Tagore Medical College, Chennai, said, “There are many ex-smokers in India who moved to e-cigarettes because they failed with nicotine gums and patches, and now with the ban, they will be forced to go back to smoking. This is a regressive step taken by the government, which is often sceptical about new developments. This happened with vaccines, condoms, etc. in the past but the policies ultimately changed. The bill to ban e-cigarettes is a defeat for science.”

Dr Aparajeet Kar from the Pulmonology Department of BLK Super Specialty Hospital, New Delhi, said, “The bill to ban e-cigarettes is surprising in a country like India where so many deaths are reported due to smoking. The government has neglected the harm reduction benefits of e-cigarettes and has been relying only on the biased whitepaper of the ICMR [Indian Council of Medical Research]. Those who gave up smoking with the help of vaping devices will now be vulnerable to diseases such as lung cancer, COPD, bronchitis, etc. as they will move back to conventional smoking due to non-availability of e-cigarettes. The government should have considered regulation as it has been done in various other countries, but banning is not a solution.”

Source: The Times of India, 10 December 2019

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