Study: Passive smoking almost eradicated in Scotland
A recent study published in Tobacco Control has found that the amount of secondhand smoke inhaled by non-smokers in Scotland has almost been eliminated over the past 20 years.
Researchers from the University of Stirling analysed levels of cotinine — a biomarker for exposure to tobacco smoke — in non-smokers’ saliva using data from 11 Scottish Health Surveys between 1998 and 2016. They found reductions in cotinine levels of over 97% during the period, with over four fifths of non-smokers showing no measurable exposure to secondhand smoke by 2016.
Dr Sean Semple, one of the study authors, said: “These figures suggest that policies and changes in how we treat smoking mean that about 2.3 million additional adults in Scotland are no longer breathing in secondhand smoke compared with the situation in 1998.”
Sheila Duffy, Chief Executive of ASH Scotland, said: “This has not happened by accident but is the result of work by successive Scottish administrations and is a clear example of the benefits of public health campaigns.”
Source: The Times, 4 September 2018
Tobacco Control: Assessing progress in protecting non-smokers from secondhand smoke
How your heart age is key to heart attack or stroke risk
Public Health England (PHE) has published figures from its new online ‘heart age’ test showing that 34% of the 1.9 million respondents had a heart age of more than 5 years older than their actual age and 14% had a heart age of at least 10 years older.
PHE predicts that around 80% of heart attacks and strokes in people under 75 could be avoided if heart health was improved.
The test is accompanied by advice on lifestyle changes people can make to improve their heart health. First among these changes is quitting smoking which reduces a person’s risk of heart disease (compared to that of a smoker) by about half after one year of not smoking.
Source: BBC, 4 September 2018
Cornwall set to sign up to Local Government Declaration on Tobacco Control
Cornwall Council is preparing to sign up to the Local Government Declaration on Tobacco Control. The Declaration is a statement of a council’s commitment to ensure tobacco control is part of mainstream public health work and commits councils to taking comprehensive action to address the harm from smoking.
Signing the Declaration will commit the council to matching the government’s ambition to reduce the proportion of adult smokers to 12% by 2022, compared to Cornwall’s current adult smoking rate of 15.7%.
Smoking costs Cornwall over £121.3 million and kills almost 1,000 people in the county every day.
Source: Cornwall Live, 31 August 2018
Israel expands smoking ban in public places
Israel has extended its smoking ban in public places to include all government offices, courts, religious councils, hospitals and clinics, concerts, demonstrations and all open-air events attended by more than 50 people.
The new regulations came into force on 1 September. The Health Ministry has also promised to ban smoking areas in bars and restaurants.
Israel’s smoking rate is 25.4% for people over the age of 15, compared to the global average of 21.9%.
Source: BBC, 4 September 2018
Guernsey: Islander picks up cigarette butts from dawn until dusk for WNTD
Andrew Munro, of Pick it Up Guernsey, walked from 5am to 9pm collecting hundreds of cigarette butts in aid of World No Tobacco Day. He also picked up general litter and invited people, and the police, to join them for an hour over lunch. He said that outside the hospital was one of the worst areas.
Andrew said “This is hopefully growing awareness about how bad cigarette butts can be – they are very nasty. I don’t think people realised that they don’t biodegrade either.”
Source: Guernsey Press, 1 June 2018
Cornwall: How much smoking is really costing the region
Research from Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) has found that smoking is costing Cornwall more than £120m every year. This number encompasses the cost to healthcare and to businesses.
Across the south west, the annual cost is £277.2 million to the NHS, and £72.4 million to local authorities from smoking-related social care needs.
Whilst Hospital bosses say that smoking remains the largest cause of preventable death in the region, a 2016 audit found that more than 1 in 4 hospital patients were not asked if they smoke and 50% of front line staff are not given routine smoking cessation training.
ASH Chief Executive Deborah Arnott said: “The Five Year Forward View calls for a ‘radical upgrade in prevention and public health’ but this has not been followed through and smokers are not getting the support they need to quit from the NHS. In some areas, Local Authority Stop Smoking Services have been reduced due to cuts in local authority funding. Cuts to public health budgets need to be reversed and the NHS needs to step-up and play a larger role in supporting smokers to quit.”
Source: Pirate FM, 4 June 2018
Tower Hamlets: Thousands of pounds worth of illegal tobacco seized
Tower Hamlets Council’s Trading Standards Officers and detection dogs found £8,000 worth of illegal tobacco hidden inside cereal boxes, coat pockets and behind display panels during a recent two-day operation. Officers found illegal products in 10 of the 18 premises visited.
Overall 12,360 cigarettes, 2,250g of hand-rolled tobacco and 68 pots of chewing tobacco were seized.
Source: Brit Bangla, 1 June 2018
Shocking World Health Organisation video reveals how smoking damages the heart
Released by the World Health Organization (WHO) for World No Tobacco Day, the video aims to raise awareness of the effect of cigarettes on the heart and encourage smokers to quit.
The 30-second clip starts with a heart beating slowly, as it asks viewers if they were aware that tobacco is a major cause of heart disease. But as the video proceeds, it beats quicker and more smoke can be seen puffing from its valves – designed to mimic being overworked.
The footage ends with the message ‘protect your heart and choose health – not tobacco’.
Dr Tedros Adhanom, from WHO called for more awareness of the links between smoking and heart disease. He said: “Most people know that using tobacco causes cancer and lung disease, but many people aren’t aware that tobacco also causes heart disease and stroke.”
Source: Daily Mail Online, 1 June 2018
Indonesia: lax smoking laws are helping next generation to get hooked
It is estimated that smoking-related diseases kill nearly 250,000 Indonesians every year.
Indonesia is the only country in Asia that has not signed and ratified the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention of Tobacco Control (FCTC) which endorses restrictions on the extent to which tobacco companies can lobby governments, and recognises that a complete ban on tobacco marketing activities is an effective way of reducing youth smoking uptake.
This is most likely a result of the influence large tobacco companies such as Philip Morris and British American tobacco have in the Indonesian market.
Cigarettes continue to be sold cheaply with a pack of 20 Marlboro available for US$1.55, compared to around US$20 in Australia.
Indonesia is the only country in the region that still allows direct tobacco advertising. To reduce exposure to children and teenagers, advertising is restricted on TV and radio to between 9:30 p.m. and 5 a.m. But youngsters are still exposed through billboards, roadside stalls, music concerts, sporting events and the internet. There are shops and restaurants branded with tobacco advertising everywhere.
Source: The Jakarta Post, 4 June 2018
USA: Hollywood silent on request to give R rating to movies with smoking
In August 2017, the American Heart Association and 16 other health and medical groups bought trade adverts and sent a letter to the six major movie studios represented by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), urging them to apply an R rating to any motion picture with tobacco imagery submitted for classification after Friday 8th June 2018. The only exceptions would be biographical films about people who smoked or when the film depicted the dangers of smoking.
However with the June deadline here, Chris Ortman, vice president of corporate communications for the MPAA, declined to comment.
Source: American Heart Association News, 31 May 2018
USA: Cigarette prices increase in New York
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has raised the cost of a pack of cigarettes from $10.50 to $13, the equivalent of $17 Australian dollars, to take effect this month.
Whilst this tax increase is a step in the right direction, other countries such as Australia, Japan and New Zealand continue to lead the way in having some of the highest tobacco taxes – a pack of cigarettes in Australia reaching nearly $40 Australian dollars in this year’s budget. Increases in taxation are one of the most effective mechanisms for prompting quit attempts.
Source: Daily Mail Online, 4 June 2018