ASH Daily News for 13 November 2019


  • Labour pledges £1 billion in public health funding amid NHS spending announcement
  • Jersey and Guernsey sign up to WHO’s tobacco control framework
  • Royal Surrey County Hospital launches initiative to cut number of smoking mums


  • Study: Vaping may damage the hearts of smokers when they switch


Labour pledges £1 billion in public health funding amid NHS spending announcement

Labour has pledged to increase NHS England’s budget by an average 3.9% per year in real terms until 2023/24 if it forms the next Government. The party says it would also inject £15 billion into the capital budget – spread over a five-year parliament – and increase the non-NHS part of the wider Department of Health and Social Care budget.

This funding pledge includes an additional £1 billion for better public health services. The increased funding would also be used to restore constitutional waiting time standards; implement a series of improvements to mental health services, particularly in the community; restore the training bursary for nurses and expand GP training places.

The party has also set out proposals for the overall Department of Health and Social Care budget, which includes money held outside the NHS “ringfence”, as well as NHS England. Labour’s plans would increase this total budget by an average of 4.3% each year in real terms. The Health Foundation think tank said would mean health spending rising “at a faster rate than any previous government over the NHS’s history, apart from the Blair/Brown years when health spending grew by 6% a year”.

Source: Health Service Journal, 13 November 2019

See also: The Guardian – Labour vows to outspend Tories with £26bn ‘rescue’ plan for NHS

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Jersey and Guernsey sign up to WHO’s tobacco control framework

Jersey and Guernsey have been signed up to the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). Both islands already comply with the minimum commitments – protection from exposure to secondhand smoke, standardised product packaging and bans on advertising. The islands will now have to participate in regular reporting to show compliance, with evidence-based approaches to reduce tobacco-related harm.

More than 180 countries or states have signed up to the World Health Organisation (WHO) convention. “Tobacco can have devastating health consequences but, importantly, also impacts on a country’s economy through increased health-care costs and decreased productivity,” said Deputy Heidi Soulsby, President of Guernsey’s Committee for Health and Social Care. “This will protect present and future generations from the negative health, social, environmental and economic consequences of tobacco use” she added.

Deputy Richard Renouf, Minster for Health and Social Services in Jersey, said the “highly regarded” treaty showed the importance of work across government departments and between different governments to improve health. “Health really is everyone’s business and I look forward to strengthening tobacco control with the support of this treaty,” he said.

Source: BBC, 12 November 2019

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Royal Surrey County Hospital launches initiative to cut number of smoking mums

Around 10% of pregnant women who give birth at Royal Surrey County Hospital smoke at the time of their initial appointment. As part of a new initiative mothers will undergo more carbon monoxide (CO) screenings and receive additional support.

CO monitoring will take place place at 36 weeks, on discharge from the maternity service to the health visitor, and on discharge from the Special Care Baby Unit to allow more opportunities to identify people who smoke and offer information and further support to quit.

Amy Stubbs, Deputy Director of Midwifery and Divisional Head of Nursing for Women and Children said: “When you are pregnant protecting your baby from tobacco smoke is one of the best things you can do to give your child a healthy start in life. Every cigarette contains more than 4,000 chemicals, so smoking when you are pregnant harms your unborn baby. Cigarettes can restrict the essential oxygen supply to baby and as a result, their heart has to beat even harder every time you smoke. Stopping smoking during pregnancy will also help babies in later life. Children whose parents smoke are more likely to suffer from asthma and other serious illnesses that may need hospital treatment. It can be difficult to stop smoking, but it is never too late to quit and our teams will be here to help.”

Source: Eagle Radio, 12 November 2019

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Study: Vaping may damage the hearts of smokers when they switch

Professor Thomas Münzel, of the Department of Cardiology of the University Medical Centre Mainz in Germany, looked at the impact of e-cigarette vapour on blood flow in the artery in the upper arm in 20 healthy smokers before they vaped an e-cigarette, and then 15 minutes afterwards. They found one vaping episode increased heart rates and caused the arteries to stiffen. The team also exposed 151 mice to cigarette vapour over one, three or five days for 20 minutes six times a day and found damage to blood vessels in the lungs and the brain.

Proffesor Münzel said: “Our data may indicate that e-cigarettes are not a healthy alternative to traditional cigarettes, and their perceived ‘safety’ is not warranted.”

However, British researchers warned that it was difficult to tease apart how much of the blood vessel damage was down to previous smoking. Dr Gavin Sandercock, Reader in Clinical Physiology (Cardiology) and Director of Research, University of Essex, said: “The human work [in this study] is complicated by the fact the people were current smokers so we can’t tell how much of the observed effect could be down to smoking-related damage. All the effects vaping had on the human smokers were short-term changes we know happen when nicotine enters the body; by smoking cigarettes, vaping, using patches or gum – they are not specific to vaping.”

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of ASH, said: “The short-term effects of e-cigarettes on arterial stiffness are very similar to drinking coffee, taking exercise or watching horror movies. While vaping isn’t risk free, it’s much less risky than smoking, which kills over 250 people a day in the UK. Vapers shouldn’t be scared back to smoking – that would be a real public health tragedy.”

Sources: The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, 13 November 2019

Telegraph: Vaping continues to damage the hearts of smokers when they switch to e-cigarettes, study suggests
Daily Mail: Vaping epidemic ‘may create a generation of nicotine addicts’
European Heart Journal: Short-term e-cigarette vapour exposure causes vascular oxidative stress and dysfunction: evidence for a close connection to brain damage and a key role of the phagocytic NADPH oxidase (NOX-2)

See also:
The Independent – E-cigarette vapour could damage key blood vessels linked to heart disease, study warns

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