ASH Daily News for 20 May 2015



  • Debate: Is nicotine all bad?
  • Clampdown on litter in East Hampshire
  • Czech Republic: More Czechs in favour of smoking restrictions
  • Cigarette packaging clearly targets specific demographics: research shows
  • Zimbabwe: Up in Smoke: Tobacco industry reaps havoc on forests
  • USA: Fall in adolescents’ smoking rates

    Debate: Is nicotine all bad?

    Reuters journalist Kate Kelland investigates the relative risks from using nicotine, noting the range of views among health experts. Psychologists and tobacco-addiction specialists, including some in world-leading laboratories in Britain, remark on the importance of distinguishing clearly between nicotine and smoking. The evidence shows smoking is the killer, not nicotine.

    “We need to de-demonize nicotine,” said Ann McNeill, a professor of tobacco addiction at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King’s College London, who has spent her career researching ways to help people quit smoking.

    Prof. McNeill wants people to understand the risks are nuanced – that potential harms lie on a curve with smoking at one end, and nicotine at the other. People who don’t see that may hesitate to seek help stopping smoking, or try to restrain their intake of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). That can make it harder to quit.

    Source: Reuters, 19 May 2015

    Clampdown on litter in East Hampshire

    East Hampshire District Council has begun a zero-tolerance campaign against people who drop chewing gum or cigarette butts, or don’t clean up after their dog.

    If caught they run the risk of a £75 fine. And if they do not pay it they will be taken to court. More than 3,000 fines were handed out in the first year in action in Havant – reducing the council’s street cleaning bill.

    Source: The News (Portsmouth), 20 May 2015

    Czech Republic: More Czechs in favour of smoking restrictions

    An increasing number of Czechs favour a ban on smoking in restaurants, cafes and nightclubs, according to a poll conducted by the Faculty of Social Sciences of Charles University and the Ipsos agency.

    Since 2012, the proportion in favour rose by 10 percent, up to the current 52 percent. In the Czech Republic, one-third of adults smoke.

    Source: Prague Daily Monitor, 20 May 2015

    Cigarette packaging clearly targets specific demographics: research shows

    To mark World No Tobacco Day 2015 on May 31, Kelley Lee, Professor in Global Health at Simon Fraser University and leader of the Global Tobacco Control Project, and her team have put together a display that focuses on the use of cigarette packaging to market tobacco products. Professor Lee shares her observations about some of the branding.

    Source: Vancouver Sun, 19 May 2015

    Zimbabwe: Up in Smoke: Tobacco industry reaps havoc on forests

    During 2015, Zimbabwe is expected to earn a record $777 million dollars from tobacco sales, mainly to China. However tobacco growing imposes a great threat to the environment.
    Since 1997, Zimbabwe’s deforestation rate accelerated at 1.5 percent a year, according to the Zimbabwe Forestry Commission. A significant percentage of this is due to tobacco cultivation. Since 2012, the small-scale farmers who make up 80 percent of the country’s tobacco growers have been clearing 5.3 million trees a year as they expand tobacco plots, seeking to increase their profits.

    “The national rate of deforestation currently stands at more than 300,000 hectares per annum, of which 15 percent is attributable to tobacco production activities,” says Forest Commission Agency chief research scientist Tom Deva. “It’s an unthinkable catastrophe.”

    Source: Before It’s News, 19 May 2015

    USA: Fall in adolescents’ smoking rates

    About 6% of adolescents smoked cigarettes in 2012-2013, down from nearly 13% in 2002-2003, according to a new report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. State rates in 2012-2013 ranged from about 4% in California to 10% in Kentucky. The report notes that increases in e-cigarette and hookah use are offsetting declines in use of traditional products such as cigarettes.

    “The decline in underage cigarette smoking during this period is encouraging and shows that spreading the word to young people about the risks from smoking can make an enormous positive difference,” said Fran Harding, director of SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention. “Unfortunately, far too many young people still use tobacco products.”

    Source: AHA News Now, 19 May 2015