ASH Daily News for 25 October 2018

25 October 2018


  • Public health services need £3.2bn funding to reverse impact of government cuts
  • ‘Selfish’ smoker says hospital patients should ‘walk through cloud of smoke’ into entrance above maternity ward


  • Ireland: Smoking led to rotten teeth among famine dead

Parliamentary Activity

  • Parliamentary Questions


Public health services need £3.2bn funding to reverse impact of government cuts

The Health Foundation has argued an extra £3.2bn is needed each year to reverse the impact that government cuts to the public health grant has had on health services. The public health grant – which enables local authorities to deliver vital public services such as obesity programmes, drug and alcohol services and sexual health services – has seen a £700m real-term decrease in funding between 2014-15 and 2019-20.

The Health Foundation report highlights that the cuts have not protected services in the areas with the greatest deprivation which “risks increasing health inequalities at a time when the government has pledged to tackle such injustices.” The funding cuts equate to a fall of almost a quarter per person (23.5%) and come at a time when life expectancy improvements are stalling for the first time in over 100 years.

The Health Foundation says that additional money is now needed to reallocate the grant to help with “restoring damaging real term losses,” and recommends the government should reverse the real term cuts and invest in the most deprived areas.

See also: The Health Foundation – Taking our health for granted: Plugging the public health grant funding gap

Source: National Health Executive, 24 October 2018

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‘Selfish’ smoker says hospital patients should ‘walk through cloud of smoke’ into entrance above maternity ward

A ‘selfish’ smoker says patients and visitors should be forced to ‘walk through cloud of smoke’ to get in and out of a hospital. Dave Atherton, chairman of Freedom2Choose, a smoker’s rights campaign group, believes walking through smoke “is not the most inconvenient thing in the world”.

This comes after Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield installing a button operated loudspeaker which plays messages asking smokers to put out their cigarette. Pinderfields Hospital has rolled out a smoke free policy but patients, staff and visitors are still having to walk through a cloud of smoke at the entrance which drifts into a maternity ward.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Dave said his freedoms were being denied and the patients would have to deal with the effects of second hand smoke.

Source: Mirror Online, 24 October 2018

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Ireland: Smoking led to rotten teeth among famine dead

Heavy smoking by people during the Great Famine caused their teeth to rot badly, researchers have claimed. More than half of adults were missing teeth and 80 per cent had tooth decay as a result of widespread pipe smoking in both men and women, the study suggests.

Researchers from Queen’s University in Belfast studied the teeth of 363 people who died in the Kilkenny Union Workhouse between 1847 and 1851 after archaeologists found their remains in a mass burial ground. Professor Eileen Murphy, from the university’s School of Natural and Built Environment, said the research gave extra evidence about how smoking affects oral health.

She said: “The study also gives us a unique insight into the living conditions of the working classes in Victorian Irish society at the time of the Great Famine. Smoking was evidently a habit that they could enjoy among deprived social conditions and a very harsh and difficult life, but it may have contributed to their ill health.” This is the first study to explore the relationship between smoking and oral health in an archaeological sample of a historical population. The research involved collaboration with the University of Otago in New Zealand.

Source: The Times, 25 October 2018

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Parliamentary Activity

Parliamentary Questions

Asked by Mr. Jim Shannon, Strangford

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department is taking steps to encourage smokers to take up vaping as a method of quitting smoking.

There were 6 additional questions all related to the Department’s policy on e-cigarettes which received this answer.

Answered by Steve Brine, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The Government has consistently highlighted that quitting smoking and nicotine use completely is the best way to improve health. E-cigarettes are not risk free. However, the evidence is increasingly clear that e-cigarettes are significantly less harmful to health than smoking tobacco, and can help smokers to quit, particularly when combined with stop smoking services. In the Tobacco Control Plan for England published in July 2017, the Government committed Public Health England (PHE) to updating its evidence report on e-cigarettes and other novel nicotine delivery systems annually until the end of the Parliament in 2022. PHE’s latest report was published on 6 February 2018 and is available at the following link:

PHE’s evidence review argues that e-cigarette use, alone or in combination with licensed medication and behavioural support from a stop smoking service, appears to be helpful in the short term, and that e-cigarettes have contributed to tens of thousands of additional quitters from smoking in England.

The PHE evidence review concluded that “to date there have been no identified health risks of passive vaping to bystanders”. PHE has produced guidance for organisations on developing appropriate vaping policies for public places and workplaces. Such policies should be based on the evidence and support smokers to quit while managing any identified risks.

If local stop smoking services wish to discuss vaping as a tool to stop smoking they are able to do so. Both PHE and the National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training have provided advice to support this.

PHE has committed to include messages about the relative safety of e-cigarettes within quit smoking campaigns such as during the annual Stoptober campaign.

The United Kingdom Government transposed the EU Tobacco Products Directive into UK legislation through the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016. This legislation covers e-cigarettes and vaping liquids and requires producers who supply or intend to supply electronic cigarettes or refill containers to notify the Secretary of State in accordance with the regulations. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency is the competent authority for the notification scheme for e-cigarettes and refill containers in the UK. A list of products that have been notified to the MHRA is available on

The Tobacco Control Plan for England, published in July 2017, committed the Government to seek to support consumers in stopping smoking and adopting the use of less harmful nicotine products. PHE provides advice on quitting smoking and has highlighted the potential role of e-cigarettes in doing so. PHE’s latest Health Matters blog ‘Stop Smoking: What Works?’ provides advice to smokers on different options to help them quit, including e-cigarettes as well as nicotine replacement therapy and prescription medicines. This is available at the following link:

Source: Hansard, HC Deb, 18 October 2018

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