Action on Smoking and Health

Tag Archives: cancer

Tobacco and Ethnic Minorities

Smoking rates vary considerably between ethnic groups and within groups they vary by gender. August 2019.

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ASH Daily News for 13 September 2018


  • Study: Cancers rising around the world
  • Public Health England urged to end tie-up with alcohol industry


  • US threatens to ban flavoured e-cigarettes
  • Saudi Arabia tells WTO it plans to adopt plain tobacco packaging


Study: Cancers rising around the world

Researchers at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) have predicted that there will be 18.1 million new cases of cancer and 9.6 million deaths from the disease this year worldwide, up from 14.1 million cases and 8.2 million deaths in 2012.

Lung cancer is now the leading cause of cancer death for women in 28 countries, with the USA, Hungary, China and New Zealand being the worst affected.

George Butterworth, Senior Policy Manager at Cancer Research UK, said: “Tobacco is the single biggest reason why more women across the world are getting lung cancer than ever before. In the UK smoking among women became more prolific later than it did for men, so it’s not surprising that we’re seeing increasing lung cancer rates now. Similarly, cigarettes are now increasingly popular among women in low and middle income countries and the tobacco industry’s aggressive marketing to them is influencing this.”

Source: BBC News, 12 September 2018

See also: IARC Press Release

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Public Health England urged to end tie-up with alcohol industry

Over 40 public health experts have written to Public Health England (PHE) to oppose its affiliation with alcohol industry funded charity, Drinkaware.

The letter argues that working with the industry will “significantly damage” PHE’s credibility.

Martin McKee, professor of European public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and one of the 46 signatories to the letter, said: “The tie-up with Public Health England does give the alcohol industry a lot of credibility. It says we are part of the solution when clearly they are not… [PHE] are creating a climate where other people feel encouraged to do this. Look at the potential tie up between British American Tobacco and Public Health in Birmingham recently, which again produced incredulity. This takes us into an area which we refer to as corporate or commercial determinants of health – the role of large corporations in shaping the agenda and in influencing policy.”

Source: The Guardian, 13 September 2018

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US threatens to ban flavoured e-cigarettes

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned the country’s five largest e-cigarette makers — Juul, Blu, MarkTen, Vuse and Logic — that their products could be banned unless the companies can prove within 60 days that they have effective plans to stop sales to children.

“The disturbing and accelerating trajectory of use we’re seeing in youth and the resulting path to addiction must end,” said Scott Gottlieb, head of the FDA. “It’s simply not tolerable.”

The five brands account for 97% of e-cigarette sales in the United States. The value of all sales reached $2.35 billion in 2016. The announcement marks a shift in the agency’s policy on e-cigarettes, which until recently were seen as a potential tool to wean adult smokers off cigarettes.

Source: The Times, 13 September 2018

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Saudi Arabia tells WTO it plans to adopt plain tobacco packaging

Saudi Arabia has notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) that it plans to adopt plain packaging of tobacco products, a public health measure strongly opposed by major tobacco firms.

The move by Saudi Arabia follows a WTO ruling in June in favour of Australian packaging laws in what was seen as a test case for tobacco control. Cuba, Indonesia, Honduras and the Dominican Republic challenged the Australian law on the grounds that the ban on colourful logos and the implementation of standardised packets were a breach of intellectual property rules and unduly restricted trade.

The Australian government described the ruling as a “resounding victory” for the laws it introduced in 2010. The World Health Organization said it expected the WTO ruling to create a domino effect as more and more countries moved towards tough Australian-style tobacco laws.

Source: Reuters News, 12 September 2018

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How Smoking Affects the Way You Look

Tobacco smoking seriously affects internal organs, particularly the heart and lungs, but it also affects a person’s appearance by altering the skin, body weight and shape. September 2018.

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ASH welcomes Cancer Research UK research on avoidable cancer

Cancer Research UK has today published a new study which estimates that more than 135,000 cases of cancer in the UK could be prevented every year. 54,000 cancer cases a year are due to smoking, which causes over twice as many cancers as the next biggest preventable risk factor, obesity. [1]

ASH welcomes this new study, which highlights the benefits of quitting smoking. However, more needs to be done to address the inequalities that lie at the root of many of the risk factors identified.

Deborah Arnott, ASH Chief Executive, said:

“If we are serious about preventing cancer, smoking remains the number one priority. This study shows that smoking is still the leading cause of preventable cancer in the UK, with 54,400 new diagnoses every year. It is shocking that against this backdrop, stop smoking services continue to be among the hardest hit by funding cuts and the NHS is not doing anywhere near enough to help smokers quit.” [2] [3]

Notes and Links:

Action on Smoking and Health is a health charity working to eliminate the harm caused by tobacco use. For more information see:

ASH receives funding for its programme of work from Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation.

ASH staff are available for interview and have an ISDN line. For more information   contact ASH on 020 7404 0242 or out of hours Deborah Arnott on 07976 935 987 or Hazel Cheeseman on 07754 358 593.


[1] Brown et al. The fraction of cancer attributable to known risk factors in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and the UK overall in 2015. British Journal of Cancer. DOI: 10.1038/s41416-018-0029-6

[2]  ‘Feeling the heat: The decline of Stop Smoking Services in England’ research undertaken by ASH commissioned by Cancer Research UK. Findings from a survey of Local Authorities with public health budgets. Survey work undertaken July – September 2017.

[3] Smoking cessation policy and practice in NHS hospitals. British Thoracic Society, December 2016

Smoking and Cancer

Smoking causes 16 different types of cancer and is the single biggest avoidable risk factor.
July 2017.

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