ASH Daily News for 20 December 2019


  • Manchester family who quit smoking hope to help others
  • Women still smoking while pregnant in Oxfordshire
  • More than 60,000 illegal cigarettes and tobacco worth £42,000 seized from Gateshead home


  • US raises tobacco and vaping product purchase age to 21
  • Canada health minister proposes ban on vaping product advertising in public spaces

Link of the week

  • New ASH resource: Local Alliances Roadmap
  • World Health Statistics 2019: Monitoring health for the SDGs



Manchester family who quit smoking hope to help others

A Manchester family hit twice by cancer has quit cigarettes together. Now, they hope their story will inspire others to join the thousands of other people who have stopped smoking in the last year. Henry Pridding, 66, went to the doctors with what he thought was a mouth ulcer only to discover he had tongue cancer. The diagnosis followed his wife Tina’s own struggle with lung cancer. Since then they have both, along with their daughter, given up smoking.

Henry said: “smoking has devastated our family, that’s why we all stopped smoking. We want to share our story in the hope that it will help other people stop – like we wish we had done before cancer struck. If you make one New Year’s resolution, make it to quit smoking. It might not be easy, but it’s worth it. We did it, you can too.” The family have shared their story as part of the Greater Manchester ex-smoker campaign, which is drawing on the real-life experiences of former smokers to show that you can stop.

Henry, Tina and daughter Vikki, 35, are featured in TV and radio adverts that have been created for the ex-smoker campaign. The campaign also features other local ex-smokers, including Salford-based couple and Hollyoaks stars Luke Jerdy and Daisy Wood-Davis. The campaign has been created by the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership as part of its Making Smoking History programme whose ambition is to reduce smoking rates in the city region by a third by the end of 2021. Since the programme began in 2017 there are 46,500 fewer smokers in Greater Manchester and four in ten smokers have made a serious quit attempt in the last year. Smoking prevalence is falling in the city region at twice the rate of England and there are more people making serious attempts to quit in Greater Manchester than at any time since the smoking ban was introduced in 2007.

Source: ITV, 20 December 2019

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Women still smoking while pregnant in Oxfordshire

New NHS Digital data shows 8% of mums who gave birth between April and September 2019 in the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group area were smokers – representing 238 out of the 3,165 maternities recorded during that time. The Government has set a 6% target for smoking at the time of delivery to be met by 2022 – 28 of 191 CCGs in England are already below the incoming target. Nationally, 10% of mothers across the UK are known to be smokers at the time of delivery, the Department of Health and Social Care has acknowledged that it ‘must do more’ to bring the levels down.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health, said: “Smoking during pregnancy is a leading cause of still birth, miscarriage and birth defects. The proportion of women smoking during pregnancy nationally has stuck at just over one in 10 for years now, and in some areas is as high as one in four. This is a disgrace, and demands urgent action.”

The British Lung Foundation cautions that although smoking rates are declining, it still poses problems for policymakers. “As smoking rates fall, the remaining smokers are likely to be those who need the most help,” said Rachael Hodges, the health charity’s senior policy officer. “Stop smoking services benefit people from disadvantaged communities where smoking rates are typically higher” however, “harsh cuts” to public health funding have left CCGs and councils struggling to offer this support, she added.

Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, chief midwifery officer for England, said: “Having a baby in this country is now safer than ever but smoking while carrying a baby puts both parent and child at avoidable and potentially deadly risk. No woman should have to experience the heartbreak of stillbirth, and quitting smoking is absolutely vital for a healthy mum and a healthy baby. The NHS Long Term Plan sets out a programme of measures including stop smoking classes for all pregnant women, which will make giving birth even safer, and build on progress in NHS care which has helped reduce stillbirths by 20%.”

Source: Oxford Mail, 19 December 2019

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More than 60,000 illegal cigarettes and tobacco worth £42,000 seized from Gateshead home

Thousands of illegal cigarettes and a haul of tobacco worth £42,000 have been seized from a home in Gateshead. Trading standards officers from Newcastle and Gateshead alongside Northumbria Police officers executed a search at a home in Gateshead where they discovered the cigarettes and tobacco. During the search, 62,660 suspected illegal cigarettes were found alongside 4.75kg of hand-rolling tobacco.

Councillor Nick Kemp, Newcastle City Council cabinet member for Environment and Regulatory Services, said: “The partnerships we have with neighbouring authorities and the police allow us to tackle increasingly complex illegal operations seeking to gain at the expense of others in the North East. Illegal tobacco products are unregulated, they lead to children becoming addicted and being vulnerable to serious health implications of smoking, and it also funds organised crime. Criminals should be mindful that if they continue to scourge our communities we will be coming after them.”

Councillor John McElroy, Gateshead Council’ s cabinet member for Environment and Transport, said: “Illegal tobacco keeps people hooked on an addiction that kills over 5,000 people in our region ever year and the sale of illegal tobacco is a not restricted to local authority boundaries either. By working with Newcastle Council and Northumbria Police we’re showing we will work together to try and stamp out this criminality.”

Source: Chronicle Live, 19 December 2019

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US raises tobacco and vaping product purchase age to 21

The legal age in the US to smoke will rise to 21 next year, under a new law passed by Congress on Thursday 19th December. The age increase will cover cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and all other tobacco products.

Donald Trump voiced support for the change in November and is expected to sign the bill in the coming days, part of a larger spending bill that will prevent a federal government shutdown. The nationwide increase in the legal smoking age, currently 18 but already higher in almost half of all states, has long been a goal of tobacco control advocates and has bipartisan support.

The spending bill passed in the House of Representatives on Tuesday and then the Senate on Thursday. The age increase should take effect nationwide in about nine months, after the bill is signed.

Source: Buzzfeed, 19 December 2019

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Canada health minister proposes ban on vaping product advertising in public spaces

Canada’s minister of health, Patty Hajdu, has proposed new regulations to ban the promotion and advertising of vaping products in public spaces, convenience stores and online, in an effort to curb youth use of e-cigarettes.

Hajdu also announced new mandatory health warnings on vaping product packaging.
The number of Canadian teens who said they had vaped in the past month doubled from 10% to 20% between 2017-18 and 2018-19, according to the Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey.

Hajdu said: “We are working with experts and all Canadians to find ways to prevent youth from vaping. The new measures announced today will help, but there is more to do” she added. In an interview with the CBC public broadcaster, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the measures a “first step.”

Source: Reuters, 19 December 2019

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Link of the week

New resource: Local Alliances Roadmap

The Local Alliances Roadmap sets out the resources available to support local tobacco control alliances to deliver comprehensive, evidence based activity to ensure local prevalence reduction and work towards a smokefree generation. The map provides an overview of the key components of tobacco control alliances, and provides examples of local strategies, action plans, terms of reference and communication campaigns.

The roadmap has been developed by ASH and Fresh with support from a Task and Finish group with members from local authority public health teams. If you have any queries about the roadmap please get in touch.

View Roadmap

World Health Statistics 2019: Monitoring health for the SDGs

The World Health Organization (WHO) has published the latest report on recent trends in life expectancy and causes of death, and reports on the health and health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and associated targets.

Where possible, the 2019 report disaggregates data by WHO region, World Bank income group, and sex; it also discusses differences in health status and access to preventive and curative services, particularly in relation to differences between men and women.

View Report