Smoking cessation is one of the most effective ways to prevent respiratory diseases and also one of the most effective treatments for people who have them. This factsheet provides an overview of the harm caused by smoking and the different types of respiratory disease. September 2020.
Breathing other people’s smoke is called passive, involuntary or secondhand smoking. Health impacts range from eye irritation, headache, cough and sore throat, to heart disease and lung cancer. March 2020.
Link of the Week
Study: E-cigarette use shifts towards lower socioeconomic groups
A new study published in the journal Addiction has found that use of e-cigarettes has shifted from more affluent early adopters to being used more widely across all socioeconomic groups.
The research, which is the first of its kind to examine use of e-cigarettes by socioeconomic group at the population level, included data from over 80,000 adults in the UK aged 16 and over. The burden of disease and premature mortality from tobacco smoke is currently heaviest among the most disadvantaged groups.
Loren Kock, lead author of the study, said: “E-cigarettes have the potential either to decrease or increase health inequalities depending on levels of smoking cessation… Our research indicates that from 2014 to 2016, e-cigarette use among smokers was generally higher among those from more affluent socioeconomic groups, with disadvantaged groups around half as likely to use an e-cigarette in 2014, but this gap was no longer evident in 2017.”
Source: UCL News, 11 October 2018
Addiction: E‐cigarette use in England 2014‐2017 as a function of socioeconomic profile.
London: Smokers to be scanned in supermarket car parks in pioneering bid to cut lung cancer deaths
A new pilot scheme in West London will offer current and former smokers lung cancer scans in order to improve early detection of the disease. Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death in the UK, partly as a result of late diagnosis.
The NHS funded scheme will cost £1 million and will target over 7,000 smokers and former smokers outside supermarkets in London.
The results from the trial will help determine whether the NHS should set up a national screening program for lung cancer.
Source: London Evening Standard, 10 October 2018
Link of the Week
Blog: Tobacco smoke and environmental injustice
In this blog, Nick Hopkinson from Imperial College London highlights the environmental harm caused by the tobacco industry and makes the case for supporting low income countries to transition away from tobacco production alongside reducing tobacco consumption.
“Crucially, while profits from the tobacco industry accrue in the rich world, the largest environmental burdens fall on low and middle income countries. Of the top 10 tobacco producing countries, nine are developing and four are defined as low income, food deficit countries. Smokers in high income countries like the UK are literally and metaphorically burning the resources and the future of the most vulnerable people on our planet.
As well as squandering resource inputs, the outputs of the tobacco product life cycle pollute water and land and contribute to climate change. An estimated 4.5 trillion cigarette butts are released into the environment—toxic trash that poisons water and land. Actions to tackle this include demanding extended product liability from the industry so that it takes responsibility for the whole life cycle and externalities are costed in.
Countries need to be supported to provide and promote alternative livelihoods for tobacco farmers, but the only effective response to the environmental effect of the tobacco industry is to reduce tobacco consumption.”
London: Fire brigade recommends vaping after cigarette causes flat fire
On Thursday morning fire fighters were called to Cann Hall Road in Leytonstone after a passer-by reported a flat fire. The cause of the fire is believed to be a discarded cigarette.
A London Fire Brigade spokesperson said: “Cigarettes are a leading cause of house fires but so many people fail to ensure they are stubbed out properly. Never leave cigarettes unattended and always ensure ashtrays are carefully emptied with all the debris. We’d rather people didn’t smoke at all but if you do, vaping is a safer option in terms of preventing fires.”
This is Local London, Fire brigade issue smoking safety warning after Eltham fire
Source: East London & West Essex Guardian, 10 August 2018
Don’t ignore lung cancer symptoms
Lung cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the UK, as well as being one of the most serious. Almost 45,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer in the UK every year, and those most at risk are smokers. Smoking accounts for about 80% of all lung cancer cases.
During its early phases, there are usually no warning signs of lung cancer, which makes it hard to spot in its early stages. As a result, the outlook for patients isn’t as good as it can be for other types of cancer.
However, lung cancer that’s spread to the liver can lead to a number of tell-tale signs. For example, if the tumour is large enough to block the bile ducts, it could cause yellowing of the skin and eyes.
Source: Express, 9 August 2018
US & France: When social policy saves lives
Income inequality has been on the rise on both sides of the Atlantic over the past decades, accompanied by a broad public debate about its negative consequences. Impacts on health and longevity, and the question of whether income inequality is causing inequality in health, have been a particular focus.
Some of the difference in life expectancy observed at older ages in the US could be the result of successful social health policies. The cohorts that have entered old age over the past two decades experienced strong decreases in smoking rates that were particularly dramatic among persons of higher socioeconomic status.
When the Surgeon General warned about the health risks of smoking in the 1960s, it was the wealthier parts of society who stopped smoking first, while the more disadvantaged parts of society followed that trend about a decade later. As a result, current cohorts of the elderly have experienced longer life expectancy due to smoking cessation more strongly among the rich than among the poor, implying an increased difference in life expectancy between the two groups. However, since information about the dangers of smoking reached all parts of society and smoking rates are low across the entire socioeconomic spectrum in younger cohorts, it is likely that old age mortality gaps due to smoking-related causes will decrease again once those cohorts enter retirement age.
Source: Vox, 9 August 2018
Link of the week
Panorama: Get rich or die young
Life expectancy in Britain varies dramatically depending upon where you live. The rich live longer and the poor die younger. Reporter Richard Bilton visits Stockton, the town with the country’s worst health inequality. He investigates why people in the town centre can only expect to live to 71, while their wealthier neighbours a couple of miles away will live an average of 14 years longer.
Understanding employment laws around e-cigarettes
There are around 3 million that use e-cigarettes in the UK. Whilst smokers have to leave the office to smoke, the rules for vaping vary between organisations. This can pose issues for businesses trying to understand the current laws.
In practice, businesses can decide whether or not they allow e-cigarettes inside an office. There are benefits from allowing it; it can help people replace smoking and also keep them in the office for longer, rather than going out for a smoke every hour or two. There is also strong evidence that it is less harmful than smoking, so many business owners are willing to accept it.
Public Health England (PHE) declared in 2016 the need to have policies for vaping in the workplace. This includes having rules that outline whether vaping is permitted or not and under what circumstances. All stakeholders in the organisation should have an understanding of whether e-cigarettes are permitted or not and this can be reinforced through the use of signs, written declarations and official company policies.
PHE recommends that all companies in the UK move towards having a smokefree environment, providing employees with evidence of the health risks associated with smoking.
Source: Business Matters, 31 July 2018
Hackney: Dalston off-licence accused of selling smuggled tobacco
A Dalston off-licence is facing an uncertain future after an unannounced visit by the authorities uncovered a stash of illicit tobacco. Following an anonymous tip-off, Hackney Trading Standards visited Kingsland Wine on 5 December 2017 in a joint operation with Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
The investigation found a stash of ‘duty avoided tobacco’ in a covert hiding place above the door to the staff toilet. Also discovered was a substantial quantity of foreign labelled tobacco under the counter. A total of 4,260 king-size cigarettes and 1.9kg of rolling tobacco believed to be “duty avoided” were seized.
Source: Hackney Citizen, 31 July 2018
Secondhand smoking is causing thousands of stillbirths in developing countries
In developing countries, it is typically uncommon for women to smoke and so pregnant mothers rarely smoke cigarettes. However their exposure to secondhand smoke during pregnancy is a lot higher than in developed countries, according to a recent study which was carried out in 30 developing countries.
Exposure to secondhand smoke during pregnancy increases the risk of stillbirth, congenital malformations and low birth-weight. Despite this, smoking in indoor public and private spaces is still common in many countries. The study was based on self-reported surveys from pregnant women.
In Armenia, Indonesia, Jordan, Bangladesh and Nepal more than 50% of pregnant women reported exposure to household secondhand smoke. These countries are closely followed by Egypt, Pakistan and Sierra Leone, where more than 40% of all pregnant women were exposed to secondhand smoke, almost on a daily basis.
Source: The News Minute, 1 August 2018
Study: Lung cancer mortality rates among women projected to increase by over 40% by 2030
The global age-standardized lung cancer mortality rate among women is projected to increase by 43% from 2015 to 2030, according to an analysis of data from 52 countries.
“While we have made great strides in reducing breast cancer mortality globally, lung cancer mortality rates among women are on the rise worldwide,” said study author Martínez-Sánchez. “If we do not implement measures to reduce smoking behaviours in this population, lung cancer mortality will continue to increase throughout the world.”
“Different timelines have been observed in the tobacco epidemic across the globe,” said Martínez-Sánchez. “This is because it was socially acceptable for women to smoke in the European and Oceanic countries included in our study many years before this habit was commonplace in America and Asia, which reflects why we are seeing higher lung cancer mortality rates in these countries.”
See also: Cancer Research, Projections in Breast and Lung Cancer Mortality among Women: A Bayesian Analysis of 52 Countries Worldwide
Source: Medical Xpress, 1 August 2018
North East: NHS staff make pledge on World No Tobacco Day
Senior staff at Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, a provider of mental health and disability services, have made a public commitment to reduce smoking rates among both their patients and staff.
NTW Chair, Ken Jarrold, Chief Executive, John Lawlor and Medical Director, Dr Rajesh Nadkarni have all signed the NHS smokefree pledge, which has been endorsed by NHS England, the Department of Health, the Royal College of Physicians and the British Medical Association.
John Lawlor, Chief Executive said: “The NHS Smokefree Pledge is a really positive step towards improving the health of people with serious mental health conditions who die on average 20 years earlier than the general population due to smoking. We will play our part by signing the pledge and continuing to reduce smoking rates across our organisation.”
Source: NE Connected, 4 June 2018
Suffolk: County Council invests in tobacco firm
Information published for Suffolk County Council’s pension fund committee shows that despite criticism for investing in tobacco stocks the Council has increased its tobacco portfolio.
New figures have revealed that the investment in British American Tobacco is worth £16.2m – 0.6% of the fund and the fourth largest sum behind Royal Dutch Shell, Microsoft and Ferguson.
Ipswich MP Sandy Martin has said that the public health team, central government and health services were all helping people to stop smoking, which made the council’s investment “ridiculous”.
Source: Coastal Scene, 4 June 2018
California: Social Smoking Campaign Urges ‘Smokers in Denial’ to Wake Up
Duncan Channon and the California Tobacco Control Program have launched a new anti-smoking campaign that targets social smokers age 21 to 35 who typically don’t view themselves as ‘smokers’ and therefore underestimate the harm of lighting up at parties and other social events.
The campaign evokes smokers’ distorted perception of their habit and its harm, along with statistics that reveal the true health consequences of occasional smoking and alternate forms of tobacco.
The campaign launches across the state with special focus on reaching LGBTQ, Hispanic, Asian and African-American communities that are at higher risk for social smoking.
Source: Media Post, 4 June 2018
See also: Never Just a Smoke
USA: Lung cancer risk ‘drops dramatically’ within five years of quitting smoking
Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in the US have analysed the Framingham Heart Study, which looked at 8,907 people who had been followed for 25 to 34 years.
During this period, 284 lung cancers were diagnosed, nearly 93% of which occurred among heavy smokers – those who had smoked at least a pack of cigarettes a day for 21 years or more.
Five years after quitting, the risk of developing lung cancer in former heavy smokers dropped by 39% compared to current smokers, and continued to fall as time went on.
However, even 25 years after quitting, their lung cancer risk remained over threefold higher compared to people who had never smoked.
Author Hilary Tindle, professor of medicine at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, said: “The fact that lung cancer risk drops relatively quickly after quitting smoking, compared to continuing smoking, gives new motivation.”
Source: Health Insurance Daily, 4 June 2018
See also: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Lifetime smoking history and risk of lung cancer
Nigeria: Tax rise on tobacco and alcohol as fears grow of a public health crisis
A rise in excise duties has come into force in Nigeria, amid fears that growing tobacco and alcohol consumption could threaten a public health crisis. Although the number of women smoking has nearly halved over the past 18 years, the proportion of Nigerian men who have taken up the habit has increased to 17.4% from 11% in 2000. The rise has been attributed to less control on tobacco advertising and a growth in disposable income in the region, experts say.
The finance ministry has said it hopes the duties would have “a dual benefit of raising the government’s fiscal revenues and reducing the health hazards associated with tobacco-related diseases and alcoholic abuse.”
However, though the IMF proposed a doubling of tariffs, taxes on cigarettes will be raised by just four pence a year for the next three years, so campaigners have questioned how effective this will be.
Source: Telegraph, 4 June 2018
China: Tobacco regulator argues for indoor space for smokers
The regulator of China’s tobacco industry, which oversees state monopoly China National Tobacco Corp, has called for the introduction of designated indoor smoking areas, claiming enforcing bans in all public spaces was too difficult.
The former head of tobacco control at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Yang Gonghuan, has accused China Tobacco of attempting to thwart control measures by interfering in policy-making. Around 300 million of China’s 1.4 billion people smoke, and China Tobacco sells 98% of all tobacco consumed in China. It is easily the world’s largest tobacco producer by volume, with its sales totalling 1.1 trillion yuan ($171.81 billion) last year.
Source: Reuters, 4 June 2018
Wales: Smoking ban plan for playgrounds and hospital grounds
A ban on smoking in the outdoor grounds of hospitals and schools in Wales has moved a step closer. The Health Secretary, Vaughan Gething, has launched a consultation, with the ban planned for summer 2019.
Voluntary bans are currently in place in some school and hospital grounds and also in public playgrounds. If the new law is passed, it will mean patients and visitors will have to leave hospital grounds to smoke. This would contribute to a change in culture around smoking, by presenting it as unacceptable in places where children could be influenced or where good health is meant to be promoted.
Public health experts believe smoking still accounts for more than 5,000 deaths in Wales each year, around one in every six of all deaths in people aged 35 and over.
Source: BBC News, 25 May 2018
Somerset: Over 1,000 babies born smokefree
The Smokefree Somerset Alliance recently celebrated the news that over 1,000 babies have now been born smokefree as a result of their Mums2Be Smokefree service. Midwives now refer women to this Somerset County Council funded Mums2Be service, where specialist advisors work with them on a one-to-one basis throughout their pregnancy, helping them to quit smoking and stay quit.
Councillor Christine Lawrence, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing at Somerset County Council, said: “Smoking in pregnancy is a major public health challenge and one where we are making good progress. It remains one of the few modifiable risk factors in pregnancy. There are significantly increased risks for the pregnant woman and baby due to smoking and pregnant women who smoke increase their risk of early miscarriage. I would encourage any smoker who is either pregnant or planning to start a family to get support to stop smoking immediately.”
Source: Somerset County Council Newsroom, 24 May 2018
Australia: Are tobacco health warnings are burning out?
Explicit images and dire health warnings advertised on tobacco packaging to deter smokers may be losing their impact, a Queensland researcher has found.
Aaron Drovandi, a pharmacy lecturer and PhD candidate at James Cook University, analysed the response of more than 900 people, including both smokers and non-smokers, to shock advertising tactics used on tobacco packaging.
He found younger consumers with less exposure to tobacco packaging were less jaded than older people, but were more likely to ignore health warnings. Overall, however, research participants believed health messaging had a greater deterrent value than those without, with more than 80% still supporting the warnings.
Source: This is Money, 24 May 2018
New Zealand: Expert tells Government to ban cigarette sales by 2025 as smokefree goal is “a train wreck for Maori and Pasifika”
A Maori health leader and anti-smoking campaigner has told politicians they should pass a law now to make selling cigarettes illegal by 2025.
The chief executive for Maori Public Health Lance Norman sounded a warning to the first combined meeting of the Health and Maori Affairs select committees that the goal of making New Zealand smokefree in seven years time will not be achieved. Currently 35% of Maori smoke and 25% of Pasifika.
One suggestion was to to ban the sale of cigarettes, with Mr Norman stating, “you should pass legislation now to make it illegal to sell cigarettes by 2025.”
Source: One News, 23 May 2018
New Zealand: Response: A ban on cigarettes would criminalise addiction
Banning cigarettes in New Zealand would be a premature and unjust step for those already addicted, smokefree activist says. This comes after calls for the government to move towards banning cigarettes. Boyd Broughton, from Action for Smokefree Ateoroa, said there are a number of steps that need to be taken before New Zealand considers banning smoking.
“The problem with banning something is that if it’s legal and then one day it’s banned you make criminals of people who were previously addicted to it and that’s the issue that we face if we make it illegal immediately,” Mr Broughton said.
Source: One News, 23 May 2018
USA: Using Facebook to help young adults to quit smoking
A national clinical trial testing a smoking cessation intervention for young adults that was conducted entirely on Facebook has found that smokers are 2.5 times more likely to quit after three months with the Facebook-based treatment than if they were referred to an alternative online quit-smoking program. The study was published on the 24th of May in the journal Addiction.
Researchers said they believe the method is promising, and that it can be used effectively to support short-term positive behaviour change, especially among young adult smokers. This is especially interesting because this has been a challenging group to reach and treat.
Source: Medical Xpress, 24 May 2018
USA: Lung cancer incidence in young women surpasses that in young men
A collaborative study between the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute finds rates of lung cancer, historically higher among men than women, have flipped among white Americans and Hispanic Americans born since the mid-1960s.
However, smoking behaviours have become increasingly similar between men and women in the United States, with previous reports indicating incidence rates among women and men were converging. As a result, the historical patterns of higher incidence rates of lung cancer among men than among women have reversed among white Americans and Hispanic Americans born since the mid-1960s.
The authors conclude that this “may foreshadow a higher future burden of overall lung cancer among women than among men as younger cohorts age, which further underscores the need to intensify anti tobacco measures to decrease smoking among young women.”
New England Journal of Medicine, Higher lung cancer incidence in young women than young men in the united states
Source: Ecancer news, 24 May 2018
Damien Moore (Southport)
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to tackle the sale of illegal tobacco.
Robert Jenrick, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury
The joint HMRC/Border Force strategy to tackle illicit tobacco (‘Tackling Illicit Tobacco: From leaf to light’) published on 24 March 2015 reinforced the government’s commitment to tackle illicit tobacco at all points in the supply chain. This was further demonstrated by increased investment in resources to fight this fraud announced at Summer Budget 2015 and Budget 2016.
Effective action requires collaboration across government and HMRC and Border Force work closely with other enforcement agencies, including Trading Standards and the police to target those involved in the fraud. In the last two years alone, over 2.8 billion illicit cigarettes and over 660 tonnes of hand-rolling tobacco have been seized resulting in approximately 700 prosecutions.
HMRC has also reviewed the impact of sanctions and is currently developing options, with particular focus on the approach taken to repeat offenders.
In accordance with international commitments, HMRC is also developing a new track and trace system for tobacco products. This will go live in May 2019 and will make it easier to identify where genuine product has been diverted into the illicit market and more difficult for illicit goods to enter the legitimate market.
Source: Hansard, 24 May 2018
TV show ‘Love Island’ bosses ban cigarettes in the villa and garden for 2018 series
In response to complaints from the general public and health charities including ASH, ITV has taken decisive action to ban cigarettes in both the villa and garden.
If a contestant wishes to smoke they will have to ask a producer who will take them to a designated smoking shelter away from the villa, where they will only be able to smoke alone.
Despite this, the smokers will still be filmed as producers hope to capture the drama of the contestants after a row in the smoke shed. The source added: ‘It will still be filmed, but as they’ll be alone, there won’t be as many gossipy moments as last year.’
Source: Daily Mail, 22 May 2018
Should alcohol follow in the footsteps of cigarettes and enforce health warning labels on packaging?
The Global Drug Survey (GDS) released details of the biggest ever survey about alcohol labelling in the UK. It found that labelling alcohol with warnings regarding its health dangers could help almost half of the survey’s participants think about drinking less alcohol.
The survey trialled labels based around seven different themes, however the most potent message was “Drinking less reduces your risk of seven types of cancer” with 22% of survey participants saying this would make them think about drinking less, while 26% said it might. More surprising was the fact that 65.5% of females under 25 and 58.7% of males under 25 said this information was news to them.
Deborah Arnott, Chief executive at Action on Smoking and Health agrees with health warning for alcohol, stating “For younger people, the idea that you’re going to die slightly early doesn’t really matter,” she says. “The idea that you’re going to be unable to do the things you enjoy doing is much more challenging. Messages around impotence and fertility are both key for us, and the effect smoking has on the skin.” Smoking rates in this country have been gradually falling through the century and are now at 15.8%.
Source: Vice, 22 May 2018
Essex: Maldon District Council backs nine-year-old’s call for smoke-free play areas
New posters have gone on display across parks in the district which ask adults not to smoke in children’s play areas.
The posters were designed, drawn and submitted by nine-year-old Emily from Burnham, who wrote to Maldon District Council about how she didn’t like the smell of cigarettes and wanted to have the children’s play zones in the district as a smoke-free area.
Ben Page, Health Improvement Officer at Maldon District Council, said: “Second hand smoke is especially harmful to children, including reducing lung growth, wheezing and triggering asthma attacks.”
Source: Clacton Gazette, 22 May 2018
Coventry: Smoking putting more patients in hospital
The number of Coventry hospital admissions from smoking-related illnesses has risen slightly since 2015.
Figures from Public Health England revealed people were admitted to hospital for smoking-related diseases on 2,583 occasions in 2016-17, that’s a 1.65% increase on 2,541 similar cases in 2015.
Source: Coventry Telegraph, 23 May 2018
US: Study finds quitting will improve lung health but smoking fewer does nothing
A new study by Northwestern University, Illinois has found that heavy smokers who quit had lower odds of suffering from lung disease than light smokers.
‘We were surprised to find that those who quit had lower disease risk than the group we identified as stable, low-rate smokers, even though those who quit had a greater lifetime exposure to cigarettes,’ said Dr Amanda Matthew, a research assistant professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
Those who continue to smoke 10 cigarettes per day were more likely to develop emphysema than those who used to smoke 20 cigarettes per day or more and have since stopped entirely. Light smokers also suffer a larger decrease in lung function than those who have quit, regardless of how long they smoked for previously.
Experts long-believed that smokers used intermittent smoking as a bridge to quitting. However, one-quarter of all smokers are considered light smokers who have no intention of ceasing their habit.
Source: Daily Mail, 22 May 2018
USA: Youtube removes e-cigarette content
Some YouTube reviewers of e-cigarette products have had their content taken down from the platform and in some cases their channels deleted.
This is despite consensus that e-cigarettes reduce the harm associated with smoking. In July, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated that it is ‘committed to encouraging innovations that have the potential to make a notable public-health difference’ with regards to smoking.
YouTube has been key to raising awareness about the benefits of vaping among some groups.
Source: Spiked, 23 May 2018
Jon Ashworth, Shadow Secretary of State for Health
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he plans to deposit the instruments of ratification for the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products.
Robert Jenrick, The Exchequer Secretary
Answered on: 22 May 2018
The government is fully committed to the Protocol and steps to achieve ratification have begun. Subject to parliamentary approval, the government intends to deposit the instruments of ratification by 2 July 2018. This will enable the UK to participate if there is a first Meeting of the Parties later this year.
Source: Hansard HC, 22 May 2018
Link of the week
Efforts to cut number of smokers across North East by half are praised in parliament
Work across the North East to almost half the number of smokers has been recognised in Parliament. Public Health Minister Steve Brine and Shadow Public Health Minister Sharon Hodgson discussed the work of Fresh Smokefree North East during a debate to reflect on 70 years of the NHS.
Smoking has fallen in the North East from 29% in 2005 to 17.2% in 2016, with the region also having the highest quit success rates over the past decade and the largest fall in smoking during pregnancy, from 22.2% in 2009/10 down to 16% in 2016.
Source: Sunderland Echo, 18 May 2018
Most women find smokers unattractive and are slightly more likely to date an e-cigarette user, survey finds
Women are more likely to find smoking unattractive than men are, a new survey has found. Around 56 percent of women said they would not date someone who smokes with nearly 70 percent saying they find it unattractive. There was a lesser degree of unwillingness to date someone who vapes, often marketed as a less harmful alternative to traditional cigarettes.
Among the participants, 46 percent of women said they would not date a vaper with around 55 percent saying it was unattractive.
The survey, conducted by Inogen, a supplemental oxygen company, looked at 1,006 single people between the ages of 18 and 76.
Source: Mail on Sunday, 17 May 2018
Hull: Smoking puts 10 people in hospital every day
The latest figures from Public Health England have revealed that in the year 2016 to 2017, there were 3,731 occasions in Hull where people were admitted to hospital for smoking-related diseases. That’s up from 3,650 similar cases seen in the year before, which was the highest number on record.
In total, these cost the NHS nearly £6m to treat people in Hull for these diseases in hospital last year, which works out at £22 for every man, woman and child living here. Across the country, 244,470 people died from smoking between 2014 and 2016-1,681 of those were from Hull.
Hazel Cheeseman, director of policy at Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), said: “These figures demonstrate that the NHS is not doing enough to support smokers to quit. A recent audit found that three out of four hospital patients who smoke are not offered help to stop. If they were, hospitals would not only see fewer smoking related deaths and admissions but also an improvement in the effectiveness of many treatments including chemotherapy and surgery.”
Source: Hull Daily Mail, 17 May 2018
USA: Vast majority of heavy smokers not screened for lung cancer despite USPSTF recommendations
An analysis of 1,800 lung cancer screening sites nationwide found that only 1.9% of more than 7 million current and former heavy smokers were screened for lung cancer in 2016, despite United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and ASCO screening recommendations. This study, the first assessment of lung cancer screening rates since those recommendations were issued in 2013, will be presented at the upcoming 2018 ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago.
“Lung cancer screening rates are much lower than screening rates for breast and colorectal cancers, which is unfortunate,” said lead study author Danh Pham, MD, a medical oncologist at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center, University of Louisville, Kentucky. “It is unclear if the screening deficit is due to low provider referral or perhaps patient psychological barriers from fear of diagnosis. Lung cancer is unique in that there may be stigma associated with screening, as some smokers think that if cancer is detected, it would confirm they’ve made a bad lifestyle choice.”
Source: Medical Xpress, 17 May 2018
European Commission prioritises tobacco and sacrifices global health in trade negotiations with Latin America
The European Public Health Alliance, along with Latin American and global partners, has written to the EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and First Vice-President Frans Timmermans to put health ahead of the interests of the tobacco industry in the EU’s trade negotiations with Mexico, Chile and the Mercosur trade bloc (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay).
The EU is being called to publicly change its stance and to drop tobacco as an EU “Offensive Interest” in its negotiations with Mercosur. Another change being pushed by activists is for the EU to commit to completely exclude tobacco lobbyists from influencing policy positions on international trade.
Source: European Public Health Alliance, 18 May 2018
USA: Shisha responsible for over half of tobacco smoke inhaled by young smokers
Smoking tobacco from a waterpipe, also known as a shisha pipe, accounted for over half of the tobacco smoke volume consumed by young adult shisha and cigarette smokers in the U.S., a new University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine analysis has discovered.
Toxicant exposures – such as tar, carbon monoxide and nicotine – were lower, yet substantial, for those young adults who just smoked shisha pipes, compared to those who smoked both wateripes and cigarettes. The research, funded by the National Cancer Institute, is published today in the journal Tobacco Control.
In the U.S., waterpipe tobacco smoking rates are increasing and cigarette smoking rates are decreasing, especially among young adults.
Source: Science Newsline, 17 May 2018
See also: BMJ Tobacco Control, Waterpipe tobacco use in college and non-college young adults in the USA
Dutch insurer NN group quits tobacco investments
Dutch insurer NN Group will no longer invest in the tobacco industry and said on Thursday it aims to divest all tobacco-related holdings on its own accounts and in the funds of its asset manager within a year.
NN’s step follows similar moves by BNP Paribas Asset Management and insurers AXA, Aviva and Scor, which all decided to sell out of the industry because of the health, social and environmental costs linked to tobacco smoking.
“Tobacco no longer fits with our responsible investment approach,” NN Chief Investment Officer Jelle van der Giessen said. “It is not possible to use tobacco products responsibly.”
Source: Insurance Journal, 17 May 2018
Nigeria: Tobacco consumption contributes to 12% of deaths from heart diseases
The chairman of the Nigerian Heart Foundation, Dr. Olufemi Mobolaji-Lawal, recently addressed journalists in Lagos to discuss tobacco control in the run-up to World No-Tobacco Day. He lamented the low levels of implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) across African countries. Journalists were told that tobacco consumption contributes to around 12% of heart disease deaths in Nigeria.
Source: All Africa, 17 May 2018
Link of the week
Big Tobacco is desperate to prevent ‘plain packaging’ spreading around the world
Coming up to a year after standardised ‘plain packaging’ was fully implemented in the UK on 20 May 2017, the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association (TMA) and now Japan Tobacco International (JTI) have claimed that it’s a failure.
Why is Big Tobacco bothering, when it’s clear the UK is tough on tobacco, won its case in the courts and is not going to reverse the legislation? The reason is obvious, this is a last ditch and desperate attempt to delay and discourage the many other governments coming down the same track. Three countries have fully implemented plain packs to date (France, Australia and the United Kingdom), by the end of this year it will be six, with seven more having passed legislation and more following on behind. The dominoes are falling, markets around the world are going dark, and Big Tobacco is running scared. The WTO decision on the legality of plain packs is expected shortly, and the outcome, a defeat for the tobacco industry, has already been leaked.
Source: ASH (on Medium), 18 May 2018
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. 
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.”  
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: www.ash.org.uk/about-ash
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.
 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 http://www.nature.com/articles/s41416-018-0029-6
 ‘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.
 Smoking cessation policy and practice in NHS hospitals. British Thoracic Society, December 2016
Smoking causes 16 different types of cancer and is the single biggest avoidable risk factor.