ASH Daily News for 9 April 2019


  • New intervention improves quit rate among smokers with severe mental illness
  • Three month closure for shop selling illicit tobacco


  • USA: Illinois raises tobacco age of sale to 21
  • USA: Worries over marijuana and cigarette smoking



New intervention improves quit rate among smokers with severe mental illness

New research from the University of York’s Mental Health Addictions Research Group has found tailored smoking cessation support for people with serious mental illness can double quit rates at 6 months compared to usual support.

In the SCIMITAR + trial mental health nurses were trained to deliver behavioural support, alongside Nicotine Replacement Therapy or other medications in smokers’ homes. Compared to those receiving usual support, normally a referral to the local stop smoking service, those receiving support at home were twice as likely to have quit 6 months after the intervention.

The Mental Health and Smoking Partnership has recommended that the results from this study are incorporated into smoking cessation support for those with mental illnesses nationally. Ann McNeill, Professor of Tobacco Addiction at King’s College London and co-chair of the Mental Health and Smoking Partnership, said: “The Mental Health and Smoking Partnership welcome the findings from this study. Smokers with severe mental illness have been ignored for far too long—and it is fantastic to see that changing. We hope that NHS England will take these findings into account when implementing the ambition of the NHS Long Term Plan. Most smokers with a mental health condition live in the community, meaning community and primary care services need to step-up the support they’re providing if we’re to narrow the gap in life expectancy. SCIMITAR + shows how this can be done effectively.”

Source: Medical Xpress, 9 April 2019

The Lancet Physciatry – Smoking cessation for people with severe mental illness (SCIMITAR+): a pragmatic randomised controlled trail

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Three month closure for shop selling illicit tobacco

A shop in Gateshead which has been subject to numerous complaints about the sale of illicit tobacco has been closed for 3 months by the local council.
The sale of illicit tobacco was first discovered in 2017. The shop was raided again in January of this year and thousands of illicit cigarettes were seized. In February 2019, Trading Standards and Northumbria police visited for a third time, and again a large bag of illicit tobacco was sized.

Source: Gateshead Now, 5 April 2019

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USA: Illinois raises tobacco age of sale to 21

As of July 2019, Illinois will raise its legal age for the sale of tobacco and e-cigarettes from 18 to 21. It joins seven states that have already raised the age of sale with a further 4 states planning on changing the law in the near future. The new law does not include penalties for underage possession, but businesses face fines and sanctions for selling to consumers under 21.

This aims to reduce tobacco use among teens and young adults by preventing smoking uptake, as the younger teens start smoking, the more likely they’ll become addicted.
Governor Pritzker, who signed the legislation in Illinois, has called for called neighbouring states to do the same to discourage people from crossing state boarders to purchase products.

Source: CNN, 8 April 2019

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USA: Worries over marijuana and cigarette smoking

As more states legalise smoking marijuana, some experts have expressed that this could lead to an increase in cigarette smoking. Studies have shown that there is some crossover between marijuana and tobacco use. A report from the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine found that marijuana use increased the likelihood of dependence on other substances, including tobacco. Other studies have found similar results, showing that more cigarette users have smoked marijuana, and vice versa compared to non tobacco smokers. Moreover, tobacco is often used alongside marijuana.

Source: Daily Mail, 7 April 2019

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