ASH Daily News for 25 July 2019



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UK

  • Matt Hancock remains health secretary
  • Tobacco campaign group STOP launches online database to name organisations that promote tobacco industry
  • Hancock wants community pharmacies to adopt French model to strengthen public health role

International

  • Facebook and Instagram to restrict content related to tobacco and e-cigarettes
  • Study: Daily e-cigarette use can help smokers quit, according to one of the most comprehensive US studies yet
  • Study: One in five US workers exposed to second-hand smoke on the job

 

UK

Matt Hancock remains health secretary

The new Prime Minister has kept Matt Hancock MP as health and social care secretary despite making major changes to the rest of the Cabinet. In an apparent reference to Boris Johnson’s comments about the NHS in his first prime ministerial speech earlier on Wednesday, Hancock tweeted: “I love the NHS – it’s a great honour to be asked to drive forward the health and care of the nation – with big and exciting commitments from our new prime minister.”

Johnson said in his speech: “My job is to make sure you don’t have to wait three weeks to see your GP – and we start work this week, with 20 new hospital upgrades, and ensuring that money for the NHS really does get to the front line.” He also said: “We will fix the crisis in social care once and for all with a clear plan we have prepared to give every older person the dignity and security they deserve.”

However, questions to government about the detail of these plans have so far gone unanswered, and several senior officials said the origin of the 20 hospitals figure was unclear.

Source: Health Service Journal, 24 July 2019

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Tobacco campaign group STOP launches online database to name organisations that promote tobacco industry

An online platform naming companies that help to promote the tobacco industry is the latest effort from a $20m initiative funded by the US billionaire Michael Bloomberg to counter tobacco industry tactics. The online database, launched on Thursday 24th July, was compiled by Stopping Tobacco Organisations and Products (STOP), the first globally co-ordinated tobacco industry watchdog.

It lists companies, think tanks and other organisations that STOP’s research suggests promote the tobacco industry without necessarily acknowledging their links to the sector. Tobacco companies claim to be shifting focus towards alternative products such as heated tobacco and e-cigarettes as the number of smokers decline in the west. But campaigners have accused them of being contradictory in their messages because the vast majority of their profits still come from tobacco sales.

“Tobacco companies are so untrustworthy that they need other organisations to carry their messages to policymakers and consumers,” said Anna Gilmore, director of the Tobacco Control Research Group at the University of Bath, which has partnered with STOP. “This new database exposes these relationships so that governments and advocates don’t get tricked into believing those messages are credible.”

Source: Financial Times, 25 July 2019

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Hancock wants community pharmacies to adopt French model to strengthen public health role

Matt Hancock has called on the pharmacists to adopt the French model to become a major player in public health. “Pharmacists are integral to community health and I want to move towards the French model, where they offer a wider range of services and play a stronger role in the community,” he said while commenting on the five-year community pharmacy contractual framework. Hancock said the five-year deal will relieve pressure on NHS.

Professor John Newton, director of health improvement at Public Health England, said: “Community pharmacies can play a pivotal role by offering a range of health interventions, both in the pharmacy and out in the community, such as helping people to stop smoking, sexual health services and NHS Health Checks…[The] announcement will mean many more pharmacists and their teams engaging with customers and patients on their health and taking every opportunity to provide these health-promoting interventions.”

Keith Ridge, the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, praised the deal saying that it offers a more fulfilling clinical career to pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. “Joining up primary care organisations ‒ GPs, pharmacists and community services ‒ for our patients, is the foundation of the NHS Long Term Plan and community pharmacies are an important part of these networks, where residents can get a range of health checks and advice as well as picking up their prescription, a service which will now be even safer and more efficient,” he commented.

Source: Pharmacy Business, 23 July 2019

See also: The Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework for 2019/20 to 2023/24: supporting delivery for the NHS Long Term Plan

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International

Facebook and Instagram to restrict content related to tobacco and e-cigarettes

As of Wednesday, 24th July 2019, Facebook will enforce a new policy to restrict sales and limit content related to tobacco products, e-cigarettes and alcohol.

The new policy will prohibit all private sales, trades, transfers and gifting of alcohol and tobacco products on Facebook and Instagram, a spokeswoman said. Any brands that post content related to the sale or transfer of these products will have to restrict that content to adults 18 or older. The new policy will also apply to any Facebook groups created to sell alcohol or tobacco products, the spokeswoman said.

Facebook and Instagram users, including those under 18, are still free to post other content related to tobacco and vape products. Under the new policy, so-called influencers who are paid to promote nicotine-containing products will also be allowed to post content related to tobacco and vape products. Those posts will not have to be age restricted, a Facebook spokesperson said. They emphasized, however, that the company is considering possible changes to its influencer policy and is working with industry and regulatory bodies on potential revisions.

Source: CNN, 24 July 2019

See also: Daily Mail – Facebook and Instagram to crack down on alcohol, tobacco, and vaping: Firm says it will now restrict posts relating to the products to users 18 and older

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Study: Daily e-cigarette use can help smokers quit, according to one of the most comprehensive US studies yet

One of the most comprehensive studies to date, conducted in the US, has strengthened evidence that daily e-cigarette use can support smokers to quit. It found that adult cigarette smokers who also used e-cigarettes every day were 77% more likely than non-users to have quit and stayed off cigarettes after two years.

The paper, published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research, used data from about 8,200 adults who participated in the nationally representative Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study. At the start of the study, only 3.6% of smokers reported daily e-cigarette use, while 18% reported more sporadic use. But daily vapers were more likely than either sporadic e-cigarette users or non-vapers to report abstaining from traditional cigarettes by the end of the study. 11% of the original daily vapers reported being smokefree during both of the follow-up surveys (conducted at one and two year follow-ups), the researchers found, a significant improvement over the 6% of non-vapers who successfully quit.

Some have expressed concerns that vaping may increase a former smoker’s chances of relapse. However, in this study daily vapers were only slightly more likely than non-users to revert back to cigarette smoking. About 4% of daily vapers who reported quitting after one year had relapsed by the 2-year follow-up, compared to about 3% of non-vapers.

Source: Time, 24 July 2019

Nicotine & Tobacco Research: Electronic Cigarette Use and Cigarette Abstinence Over Two Years among U.S. Smokers in the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study

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Study: One in five US workers exposed to second-hand smoke on the job

One in five non-smoking workers report exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke (SHS) at work, according to research published in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Researchers found that 19.9% of non-smoking workers reported any exposure to SHS at work in the previous 12 months; this included 10.1% reporting frequent exposure (at least two times per week). In states with comprehensive smokefree laws, non-smoking workers were the least likely to report frequent exposure to workplace SHS.

The highest prevalence of workplace SHS exposure (65.1%) were reported by non-smoking workers employed in the commercial and industrial machinery and equipment repair and maintenance industries. The construction industry had the highest reported number of exposed workers (2.9 million), which includes outdoor workplaces and other settings unlikely to be protected by smokefree laws.

Source: Medical Xpress, 23 July 2019

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 12 July 2019

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