ASH Daily News for 6 November 2019


  • Public health cuts have hit poorest areas the hardest with spending cuts of £900m
  • Smoking tobacco could increase risk of depression and schizophrenia, say Bristol researchers
  • Smokefree public places in North Yorkshire
  • Yorkshire police dogs sniff out more than 650,000 illegal cigarettes in last six months


Public health cuts have hit poorest areas the hardest with spending cuts of £900m

Public health cuts have hit poorest areas the hardest, according to a new report by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) which reveals spending on areas such as sexual health, drug, alcohol and tobacco services has dropped by almost £900 million since 2014. Towns and cities with high levels of deprivation – such as Blackpool, Liverpool and Birmingham – have faced a disproportionate burden of these cuts despite having the greatest public health need, IPPR said.

It found that more than £1 in every £7 that has been cut from public health services has come from the 10 most deprived communities in England, compared to only £1 in £46 from the ten least deprived communities in England. In total, absolute cuts faced by the poorest areas (£120 million) have been six times larger than the least deprived (£20 million).

Reversing cuts made since 2014 and linking rises in the public health budget to rises in the NHS budget – 3.1% per year until 2023/4 – would put public health on a significantly more sustainable footing. It would make £1 billion more available for public health services by 2023, the report says.

Other recommendations include reforming the funding formula – the mechanism used to decide the allocation of government money that has resulted in the poorest areas facing disproportionate cuts – making it designed to target funding at deprived communities with the greatest public health need.

Chris Thomas, IPPR Research Fellow, said: “Austerity has meant substantial cuts to local government funding, including the public health budget. Today, we expose that these cuts have had the perverse effect of hitting the poorest, the hardest. This means the health and wellbeing of the most vulnerable people in our country has been put at risk – and puts unnecessary strain on the NHS. Government must ensure our health and wellbeing by investing in a fairer deal for local government.”

Source: iNews, 5 November 2019

See also:
IPPR: Hitting the poorest worst? How public health cuts have been experienced in England’s most deprived communities

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Smoking tobacco could increase risk of depression and schizophrenia, say Bristol researchers

Smoking tobacco could increase your chances of developing depression and schizophrenia, according to researchers at the University of Bristol. A new report has analysed data from 462,690 people of European ancestry and found evidence that smoking tobacco increases a person’s risk of developing the conditions. It also revealed people with depression or schizophrenia are more likely to start smoking.

The study is being published in the journal of Psychological Medicine today (Wednesday 6 November). It’s coinciding with the release of another report, from Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), which is requesting more to be done to help smokers with mental health conditions to quit smoking.

According to ASH, smoking is the single largest contributor to the average 10-20 year reduction in life expectancy among people with mental health conditions. The public health charity also reveals smoking rates are more than 50% higher among people with serious mental health conditions than in the general population.

Study author, Dr Robyn Wootton said people with mental illnesses are commonly “overlooked” in public efforts to reduce smoking rates. She continued: “Our work shows that we should be making every effort to prevent smoking initiation and encourage smoking cessation because of the consequences to mental health as well as physical health.”

Source: ITV News, 6 November 2019

See also:
Psychological Medicine: Evidence for causal effects of lifetime smoking on risk for depression and schizophrenia: a Mendelian randomisation study

ASH: Progress towards smokefree mental health services

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Smokefree public places in North Yorkshire

Funding is on offer to help make public spaces smokefree as part of a drive by North Yorkshire County Council to reduce smoking rates. Campaigners are calling on groups across the area who want to implement smokefree public places in areas including parks, play areas, school gates and town squares to apply for grants which are available through the Smokefree Places Fund.

The funding is provided by the Breathe 2025 partnership. A spokesperson said: “Our campaign wants to see the next generation of children born and raised in a place free from tobacco, where smoking is unusual.”

Children were encouraged to back the campaign through a summer art roadshow run by Ryedale District council. North Yorkshire’s Director for Public Health Dr Lincoln Sargeant, said: “The grant was also used to fund smoke-free signs at all play areas to make people think twice about smoking harmful cigarettes close to children’s play areas, and to empower local families to demand a smoke-free environment of fresh, clean air. South Tees NHS Foundation Trust also used funding to install signs at the entrance of Northallerton’s Friarage Hospital as part of their national pledge to go smoke-free.”

Source: The Northern Echo, 7 November 2019

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Yorkshire police dogs sniff out more than 650,000 illegal cigarettes in last six months

Police dogs have uncovered more than 650,000 illegal cigarettes and packets of tobacco across Hull and East Yorkshire in the last six months. The illegal products were found hidden on top of fridges, behind false shelves, behind remote controlled walls, inside food containers, buried in gardens and inside false drawers or around door frames.

The Humberside force has been working with Trading Standards searching hundreds of premises using intelligence from the public. The Inland Revenue and HM Revenue and Customs have brought their own prosecutions, and six shops have been closed because of suspected criminal activity.

Licensing PC Karen Walker said: “It has been a challenge to find some of these hiding places where illegal goods are being stashed… Cheap smuggled illegal and counterfeit cigarettes and alcohol can be bought at pocket money prices, and can therefore be alluring to vulnerable children for instance.”

Source: Yorkshire Post, 5 November 2019

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