ASH Daily News for 21 August 2019



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UK

BBC HARDTalk interviews CEO of Philip Morris International, Andre Calantzopoulos

Smoking ban in Scottish prisons hailed as a major success

International

USA: Quitting smoking associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease, study finds

Thailand: Ban on smoking within the home introduced

UK

BBC HARDTalk interviews CEO of Philip Morris International, Andre Calantzopoulos

In a new episode of the BBC’s HARDtalk, Stephen Sackur interviews Philip Morris International (PMI) CEO Andre Calantzopoulos. The programme probes PMI’s ‘smoke free world’ vision, given that globally PMI still sells almost 800 billion cigarettes a year, and questions whether PMI’s claims of a smoke free future are clever strategic marketing or corporate hypocrisy. Calantzopoulos is also asked why PMI has launched a new cigarette brand in Indonesia, why they have lobbied against tobacco control laws in Thailand, and why they do not focus marketing efforts on safer NRT products.

Source: BBC World Service, 21 August 2019

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Smoking ban in Scottish prisons hailed as a major success

The introduction of a smoking ban in Scottish prisons has been hailed as a major public health success. The ban was introduced in November 2018 as part of efforts to improve the health of prisoners and staff working in prisons. Researchers at the University of Stirling found the level of smoke in prisons fell by more than 80% in the week after the ban was implemented.

Linda de Caestecker, director of public health at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC), which supports HMP Barlinnie, HMP Greenock and HMP Low Moss, said the response to it had been “fantastic” and that “providing a smoke-free prison environment for people to live, work and visit will undoubtedly improve health and change smoking behaviour — not only in prison but also as people return to the community.” Free vaping devices were offered to prisoners for two months after the ban came into effect, with around 68% estimated to be smokers — higher than the rate of 18% among the general public in Scotland.

Source: The Scotsman, 20 August 2019

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International

USA: Quitting smoking associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease, study finds

Heavy cigarette smokers with at least a 20 pack-year smoking history can reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) by 39% within five years if they quit, according to a study published yesterday, 20th August, in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). It takes at least 5 to 10 years, and perhaps up to 25 years after quitting, for CVD risk to become as low as that of a similar person who has never smoked.

“Previous studies have shown the association between quitting and reduced CVD risk,” said lead author, Meredith Duncan, MA, who led the analyses for the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Centre. “But the current Atherosclerotic CVD Risk Calculator, which is routinely used in clinical practice, considers former smokers’ risk to be similar to that of never smokers after five years of cessation, which is not consistent with these findings.”

Senior author Hilary Tindle, medical director of the VUMC Tobacco Treatment Service said that “the cardiovascular system begins to heal relatively quickly after quitting smoking, even for people who have smoked heavily over decades. Full recovery could take years, so now is a great time to quit smoking and take other steps toward heart health.”

Source: SCIENMAG, 20 August 2019

JAMA, Association of Smoking Cessation With Subsequent Risk of Cardiovascular Disease, August 2019

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Thailand: Ban on smoking within the home introduced

People in Thailand can now be prosecuted for smoking inside a home if in the presence of other people. The new law, introduced on 20th August, aims to protect women and children, who are often exposed to harmful secondhand smoke. Those who break the law can be reported through a hotline, and cases may then be referred to juvenile and other courts.

Dr Ronachai Khongsakon from a tobacco research group, said that women were particularly vulnerable, with 81% being exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes. He also said that 430,000 people die worldwide annually from secondhand smoke, and that two thirds of the victims are women.

Smoking has already been banned at airports in Thailand, with internal ‘smoking rooms’ now being replaced with rooms outside terminals for smokers. Smoking on many Thai beaches was banned in February 2018. There are an estimated 10 million smokers in Thailand, with an estimated 72,000 dying of smoking related diseases each year.

Source: The Thaiger, 20 August 2019

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