ASH Daily News for 8 January 2020


  • Calls to help smokers with mental health issues quit


  • USA: Researchers trawl through health-related vaping comments
  • Study: Smoking increases risk for invasive fungal disease


Calls to help smokers with mental health issues quit

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), the University of Bath and the University of York have produced and released several videos of people with mental health conditions who have quit smoking, calling on clinicians and other health professionals to do more to help others to quit. Smoking is around twice as common among people with mental disorders than the rest of the population and it is estimated that a third of all cigarettes smoked in England are smoked by people with a mental health condition.

ASH and the universities of Bath and York said they were keen to encourage all smokers, but especially those with a mental health issue, to see the New Year as a good time to stop smoking. The videos feature five people with mental health conditions and cover themes of anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and eating disorders. They show how people with mental health conditions can quit smoking with the right support, and how much quitting smoking improved their lives and wellbeing.

Some of the people in the videos took part in the groundbreaking study SCIMITAR trial, where they were offered a support package specifically designed for people who use mental health services. Led by the University of York, the SCIMITAR trial showed that, with support, smokers with mental health conditions could double their chances of successfully quitting.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH, said: “At the turn of a decade we are encouraging smokers to try a new year quit attempt to help improve their mental and overall health. Mental health staff have a pivotal role to play and they should take every opportunity to help their patients quit. The ex-smokers in the films show that people with mental health conditions can quit smoking with the right support, but also that all too often that support is lacking.”

Source: OnMedica, 7 January 2020

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USA: Researchers trawl through health-related vaping comments

Researchers from the University of California, Riverside, have used a computer program to screen 41,216 comments online. The posts were made in three ‘major electronic cigarettes online health forums’ between 2008 and 2015. The scientists did not name the websites.

The researchers trawled through comments looking for key words and managed to try to build a picture of which symptoms people had been saying they suffered from. Headache was the most common complaint, being mentioned 939 times, along with asthma (916), coughing (852), feeling generally unwell (468), dehydration (803) and a sore throat (565). They found 45% of health-related comments were negative and 38% neutral. The researchers did not extract the commenters’ locations or demographic data.

See also: Journal of Medical Internet Research. Health Effects Associated with Electronic Cigarette Use: Automated Mining of Online Forums. January 2020.

Source: MailOnline, 7 January 2020

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Study: Smoking increases risk for invasive fungal disease

The risk for invasive fungal disease is higher among smokers, according to data from a recent study, leading researchers to suggest that strategies to end smoking be implemented, particularly among those already at increased risk for invasive fungal disease.

“Invasive fungal disease (IFD) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in immunocompromised hosts,” Annabelle Pourbaix, of the Necker-Pasteur Center for Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine, Paris, and colleagues wrote. “The general population may be at risk for IFD as well, as a result of specific environmental exposures, such as climate and agricultural profession, and lifestyle habits, such as smoking. Several studies have assessed the association between smoking and infection. Smoking increases the risk for bacterial pneumonia and meningitis and second-hand smoke exposure is associated with increased risk for childhood invasive meningococcal disease.”

Pourbaix and colleagues performed a systematic review and meta-analysis that included 25 studies collected from MEDLINE and Web of Science published through September 2018 to investigate the correlation between smoking and risk for IFD. Results of the analysis showed that there was a greater risk for IFD among smokers.
The authors concluded: “This provides new evidence supporting the implementation of smoking cessation strategies, including tobacco, marijuana, opium and crack cocaine, especially in patients with HIV and patients with hematological malignancies who are already at higher risk for IFD.”

See also: Clinical Infectious Diseases. Smoking as a risk factor of invasive fungal disease: Systematic review and meta-analysis. January 2020.

Editorial note:
Invasive fungal disease (IFD)
Fungal pathogens rarely cause disease in immunocompetent people but can cause Invasive fungal disease in immunosuppressed people. Clinical features of invasive fungal infections vary based on the type of fungus causing disease and the cause of a patient’s immunosuppression. Diagnosis is often difficult and, therefore, treatment delay is common.

Source: Healio, 7 January 2020

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