Warning on link between multiple sclerosis and smoking
The link between smoking and multiple sclerosis (MS) is “clearer than ever”, with those who smoke more likely to develop the condition and become disabled more quickly, a charity has warned.
The MS Society said it has completed a major evidence review into the connection between smoking and the chronic lifelong and disabling condition, which affects the brain and spinal cord and has no cure. One study found that quitting smoking could delay the onset of secondary progressive MS – a form of the condition that has no treatment – by as much as eight years.
Ahead of October’s ‘Stoptober’ campaign, the MS society is warning that smoking can make MS more active and speed up the accumulation of disability.
Source: Evening Express (Aberdeen), 24 September 2018
Obesity to overtake smoking as biggest preventable cause of cancer in women by 2043
A report by Cancer Research UK has concluded that by 2043, excess weight could cause more cancers in women in the UK than smoking. Being overweight/obese is currently the second biggest cause of cancer in the UK, accounting for 6% of cases in 2015.
Currently for UK females, 12% of cancer cases are caused by smoking and 7% caused by obesity – only a 5-percentage point gap between the causes. A ‘takeover’ of obesity as the principle risk factor for male cancers is likely to happen much later; smoking is currently estimated to cause almost twice as many cancers as excess weight in men.
A spokesman for NHS England said: “Obesity is… one of the greatest public health challenges of our generation, placing people at much greater risk of cancers, heart attacks and other killer conditions as well as Type 2 diabetes.”
Source: Metro, 24 September 2018
Opinion: RIP smoking, a lethal pastime. But strangely, some of us will mourn it
Stuart Evers, author of Ten Stories About Smoking, writes about smoking.
“According to Public Health England, smokers will soon be “eradicated”: the last smoker in the country quitting by the year 2030.
Despite less than 15% of adults admitting to being smokers, to me, 12 years to full abstinence seems rather fleet for a community not known for its speed. The cultural pull of tobacco, its hardiness in the face of hostility, may be weaker than it once was – those who would have smoked until they dropped are mostly now fogged in clouds of vape – but its survival instincts are those of a cockroach in the aftermath of an atomic strike. Eleven years ago, I watched as pubs erected smoking shelters for the incoming smoking ban; I don’t see them pulling them down in the near future.
For cigarettes are the grand delusion. Smoke one and you think you’re Audrey, Marlon, Winona; but more likely you are Farage – wheezing, gusting into smokefree zones with your sweet-sour stink, gazed at pityingly by the given-up and never smoked. But it doesn’t matter, you keep on. Keep up the ghost of your youth, show off your streak of non-conformity. Though they become mundane, a part of a routine, cigarettes still have that magic, that transformative power. It’s why people daily, gladly, inch themselves closer to the grave.
We will not mourn the passing of so lethal a pastime; an activity that has killed so many friends, family and lovers. And yet some of us will miss it so. The contradictions of the smoker!”
Source: The Guardian, 24 September 2018
Global treaty against illicit tobacco trade kicks in this week
A global treaty to tackle the illegal tobacco trade kicks in this week, with the World Health Organization hailing it as “game-changing” in eliminating widespread health-hazardous and criminal activity.
The Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products achieved the 40 ratifications needed for it to take effect in June and will come into force on Tuesday 25 September. About 10% of the global cigarette market is estimated to go through illicit trade, according to Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva, who heads the FCTC secretariat.
Source: New Vision, 24 September 2018
Study: ‘Heat-not-burn’ devices still damage lungs
Researchers have analysed data submitted by Philip Morris International to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The data was submitted when the company was trying to win regulatory approval to market its I-Quit-Ordinary Smoking (IQOS) product as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes.
The data shows that when smokers switched from traditional cigarettes to “heat-not-burn” devices, there was no evidence of improvements in lung function or reductions in inflammation that can signal tobacco-related blood vessel damage.
“Even if a patient could switch completely from regular cigarettes to heat-not-burn products, Philip Morris International’s own data shows that there will continue to be significant health risks associated with these products,” said lead study author Dr. Farzad Moazed of the University of California, San Francisco.
See also: BMJ Tobacco Control, Assessment of industry data on pulmonary and immunosuppressive effects of IQOS
Source: Reuters, 21 September 2018
Telford: Figures coming down as midwife supports pregnant smokers to quit
Telford and Wrekin had a much higher than average number of women who smoked at the time of giving birth in 2016/17. A total of 21% of pregnant women were smoking when their babies were born compared to the national average of 10.5%.
However numbers have reduced over the past year after a new role was created to tackle the problem head-on.
Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group and Telford & Wrekin Council decided to jointly commission a public health midwife role to try to tackle the issue. Figures show that since Michelle Powell who had been a local midwife for over 25 years was appointed to the position, the number of women still smoking at the time of birth has dropped. The current 2017/18 figure shows a decline to 17.2%.
Michelle, who works alongside a support midwife, encourages mothers-to-be to stop smoking using nicotine replacement therapies, offers advice and monitors their progress.
Source: Shropshire Star, 17 May 2018
Nottinghamshire: £2.4 million of illicit cigarettes and tobacco seized in county in one year
More than 124,000 illicit cigarettes and 6,000kg of tobacco were seized in Nottinghamshire last year, with 44 arrests made.
During 2017/18, officers from Nottinghamshire County Council’s trading standards team conducted a total of 124 inspections at premises in the county. In 45 instances there were seizures of illicit tobacco.
Source: Nottingham Post, 16 May 2018
Obesity linked to increased risk of taking up smoking and smoking frequency
A team of researchers based in France and the UK set out to determine whether genetic markers associated with obesity play a direct (causal) role in smoking behaviour.
They analysed genetic variants with known effects on body mass index (BMI), body fat percentage and waist circumference for nearly 450,000 individuals from the UK Biobank database and the Tobacco and Genetics (TAG) consortium, using a technique called Mendelian randomisation.
The results show that each 4.6 kg/m2 increase in BMI was associated with an 18% increased risk of being a smoker in UK Biobank and a 19% increased risk in the TAG consortium data.
Each increase in BMI was also estimated to increase smoking frequency by around one cigarette per day (0.88 in UK Biobank and 1.27 in the TAG consortium).
If it could be established that obesity influences smoking behaviour, this would have implications for prevention strategies aiming to reduce these important risk factors.
Source: Medical Express, 16 May 2018
US: Man first to die from vape pen malfunction
A man has died after his vape pen exploded. Tallmadge D’Elia suffered traumatic head injuries and burns to over 80% of his body due to the malfunctioning e-cigarette, a post-mortem found.
The 38-year-old had being using the product on May 5th when the device exploded, igniting a blaze at the beach resort home of his parents in St Petersburg, Florida.
Mr D’Elia’s death is understood to be the first recorded death due to a vape pen explosion in the United States.
Source: The Mirror, 17 May 2018