ASH Daily News for 18 November 2019



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UK

  • Switching to vaping helps smokers’ hearts
  • Hospital staff protest against smoking

International

  • USA: Apple removes vaping apps from app store

 

UK

Switching to vaping helps smokers’ hearts

Smokers can improve the health of their hearts within weeks of switching to e-cigarettes, new research from the University of Dundee has found. The month-long study of 114 smokers suggests vaping has the potential to reduce heart attack and stroke risk.

Chemicals in cigarette smoke narrow arteries as they get “furred up” with fatty deposits, increasing the risk of a deadly blockage. Ultimately, smoking doubles a person’s risk of having a heart attack.

Researchers said the current evidence on vaping was “very poor” and often assessed the impact of a single e-cigarette on heart health. They monitored people’s blood vessels a month after they switched to e-cigarettes on the trial. They focused on how blood vessels expand when a wave of blood rushes through, by measuring “flow-mediated dilation”. The more the blood vessels can expand, the healthier they are. Flow-mediate dilation scores have been closely linked to the long-term risk of heart attacks and stroke.

The results, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, showed:
• Healthy non-smokers had a score of 7.7%
• Smokers had a score of 5.5%
• But those who switched to nicotine e-cigarettes for a month had a score of 6.7%
So, switching to vaping got those smokers about halfway back to a healthy score.

“They’re not quite normal, but their vascular function improved quite significantly, just within a month,” said one of the researchers, Professor Jacob George. The study is too short to fully establish whether or not this improvement could be sustained in the long-term, or if vaping would definitely save lives. It is also worth noting that vapers did not have a normal score. Prof George added: “The key take-home is these devices are not completely safe and should not be tried by non-smokers or children […] We now have clear evidence they’re less harmful than tobacco cigarettes.”

Prof John Britton, director of the UK centre for tobacco and alcohol studies at the University of Nottingham, said: “This randomised trial provides clear evidence of a reduction in a marker of cardiovascular disease risk in people who switch from smoking to vaping. The finding of the study, that vaping is less harmful than smoking, is intuitively correct on the grounds of the lower range and levels of emissions known to be present in vapour relative to tobacco smoke.”

Source: BBC News, 16 November 2019

Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Cardiovascular Effects of Switching From Tobacco Cigarettes to Electronic Cigarettes

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Hospital staff protest against smoking

Staff have demonstrated outside of a Stockton hospital to try and stop people smoking. The University Hospital of North Tees is a no smoking site, but some visitors and patients continue to smoke outside the hospital entrance.

Unlike most picket lines, they weren’t demanding changes to working conditions or making a political point – rather appealing to visitors to be more considerate. Leading the protest was North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Hospital Foundation Trust medical director and deputy chief executive Deepak Dwarakanath.

He said: “It beggars belief that people smoke outside our hospital entrances […] It’s simply not acceptable. It’s already a disciplinary offence for any staff member to light up on our grounds but sadly our main problem is visitors and even patients lighting up. As a Trust with limited funds, it is not feasible to appoint a smoking security guard.”

“So, we’re going direct to people and asking them to heed the ‘no smoking’ signs and consider our patients and staff. We have children, expectant mums and patients coming in for chemotherapy treatment. They shouldn’t have to walk through a cloud of smoke to receive their healthcare.”

“We don’t have a duty to provide a smoking area. This is a smoke-free site and we need that to be respected by everyone who enters the grounds.”

Source: Teesside Live, 16 November 2019

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International

USA: Apple removes vaping apps from app store

Apple has announced that it is removing all vaping applications from its online “App Store”. It said it had taken the decision because of growing official concerns about the impact vaping can have on health, which will lead to 181 apps being made unavailable on iPhones. The move to eliminate vaping apps began in June when Apple decided to stop accepting any new apps related to e-cigarettes.

In a statement, Apple said it agreed with official warnings about the negative health impacts of vaping and the potential problem presented by the appeal of e-cigarettes to the young. It said it took “great care” to ensure that the app store was a place people could trust to get programs for their iPhone.

The vaping apps available via Apple’s store let people exercise control of some features of e-cigarettes and others simply kept people up to date with news about vaping or offered themed games. Apple said anyone who already had a vaping app on their iPhone would be able to continue using it and transfer it to any new Apple device.

Research by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) into the causes of the respiratory disease that caused the deaths suggests one ingredient is to blame. The CDC said it had found vitamin E acetate – a thickening agent used in many illegal vaping products – in lung samples from 29 patients hit by the disease.

Source: BBC News, 15 November 2019

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