Action on Smoking and Health

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ASH Daily News for 31 August 2018


  • Number of over-65s needing 24-hour care ‘to rise by third over next 20 years’
  • Wales: Highest UK rates of smoking in pregnancy is cause for concern
  • Terminally ill cancer patient shows effects of smoking 300,000 cigarettes in a lifetime
  • Opinion: Tobacco’s love of social media shows it can’t be trusted


  • Israel: Ban on smoking in public places to see significant expansion
  • Philippines: Smoking in public prohibited on Boracay island
  • Russia: Decline in tobacco deaths
  • US: More Americans are quitting smoking for good

Links of the week

  • #BinTheButt
  • Where there’s smoke…


Number of over-65s needing 24-hour care ‘to rise by third over next 20 years’

The number of adults aged 65 and over needing round-the-clock care will rise by over a third to more than one million during the next 20 years, experts have suggested. Moreover, the research indicates the number of over-85s requiring 24-hour care will almost double to 446,000 in England by 2035.

Researchers used the Population Ageing and Care Simulation (PACSim) model to examine changing levels of dependency in older people. PACSim accounts for multiple risk factors for dependence and disability, including a wide range of sociodemographic factors (such as level of education) and health behaviours (for example, smoking status and physical activity), as well as 12 chronic diseases and geriatric conditions including coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, cancer and depression.

See also:
The Lancet, Forecasting the care needs of the older population in England over the next 20 years: estimates from the Population Ageing and Care Simulation (PACSim) modelling study
The Independent, Social care crisis: Over-85s needing 24 hour care set to double by 2035, major study shows
BBC News, Numbers of elderly in 24-hour care set to double by 2035

Source: The Telegraph, 31 August 2018

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Wales: Highest UK rates of smoking in pregnancy is cause for concern

An estimated 11,864 unborn babies are exposed to harm from tobacco smoke each year in Wales. And worryingly, as many as 16% of women continue to smoke throughout their pregnancy – the highest of all the UK nations. Midwives across Wales are therefore raising awareness of the dangers of smoking and providing access to support to help pregnant women quit.

Smoking in pregnancy puts both mother and baby at risk of significant harm. It doubles the chances of the baby being stillborn or having a heart defect. Even secondhand smoke can have a devastating effect on the health of the child – increasing the chances of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by 45%.

Kate Evans, public health specialist midwife at Neath Port Talbot Hospital, said: “We know a high percentage of pregnant women smoke. We already work with mums-to-be who smoke and know how hard it can be to quit. We also appreciate the bravery of taking that step to seek help and as midwives we want to reassure women that we are here to support and advise, not judge. If you are pregnant and smoking please discuss it with your midwife who will be able to signpost you to cessation support to enable you to quit. Quit for you, quit for your baby.”

Source: Wales Online, 28 August 2018

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Terminally ill cancer patient shows effects of smoking 300,000 cigarettes in a lifetime

Anthony Pillage, a 57-year old from Coventry, has shared harrowing pictures and videos documenting his final months, following his battle with terminal cancer. The pictures and videos have received more than a quarter of a million views.

Anthony smoked more than 300,000 cigarettes in his life. He started smoking at the age of 17 due to peer pressure, and continued for a further 36 years, at times going through 40 cigarettes (two packets) a day. He was diagnosed with a thymic carcinoma, a rare cancer that grew to the size of a grapefruit and engulfed his heart and lung.

“I put up a video where I had very bad pain and couldn’t breathe online to show the perils of smoking, within two days it hit 100,000 views,” Anthony said. “Over 600 people have said they have given up smoking and the way they have written it I believe them. Even more pledged to see a doctor about cessation. I’m not sure how many months I have left, but the message I have is a powerful one and I want to make some good of the time I have left.”

Source: Metro, 30 August 2018

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Opinion: Tobacco’s love of social media shows it can’t be trusted

Ben Williams, author at The London Economic, takes a look at insidious tobacco advertising techniques.

“New research has shown the tobacco giants have a new favourite marketing trick: using Instagram influencers as Trojan horses to infiltrate the youth market. The findings only reinforce the view that the industry will stop at nothing to maintain sales, despite its products’ rather unfortunate tendency to kill its customers. As the world’s powers gather to discuss how to regulate the industry and stop tobacco smuggling, it’s critical that they keep this in mind.

The newly published study, funded by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK) and led by California PR expert Robert Kozinets, analysed over 100 social media campaigns by the ‘big four’ – Philip Morris International, British American Tobacco, Japan Tobacco International and Imperial Brands. The researchers conducted anonymous interviews with several Instagram stars who had been paid by the quartet, and found that the tobacconists’ PR teams were training them in what slogans to push, then sending them off to take selfies at glitzy parties emblazoned with corporate branding. In total, these campaigns had racked up over 25 million views worldwide.”

See also:
Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, New Investigation Exposes How Tobacco Companies Market Cigarettes on Social Media in the U.S. and Around the World

Source: The London Economic, 30 August 2018

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Israel: Ban on smoking in public places to see significant expansion

New Health Ministry rules significantly expanding the smoking ban in public places will come into effect on the 1st of September 2018.

Under the new Health Ministry guidelines, smoking will be entirely prohibited — including in any previously specially designated areas — in government offices, courts, religious councils, hospitals and clinics. It will also be banned at concerts, conferences, demonstrations and any open-air event of more than 50 people, swimming pools, open-air sports facilities, playgrounds, zoos, entrances to preschools and in closed car parks. Moreover, institutions will be allowed to set a non-smoking area at a distance of 10 meters from the entrance.

Local municipality inspectors will be authorised to hand out fines of NIS 1,000 to private individuals and NIS 5,000 to owners of public spaces where the rules are broken. The move was pushed by the Health Ministry after years of accusations of inaction in the face of an epidemic that claims thousands of lives in Israel every year.

Source: The Times of Israel, 31 August 2018

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Philippines: Smoking in public prohibited on Boracay island

The Philippines’ Department of Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat has prohibited smoking in public places on the island of Boracay. The ban covers not only the beach but other public places in Boracay. ASH Philippines, the Philippine’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Alliance (FCAP), and the Ecowaste Coalition have commended the decision.

“We laud Sec. Puyat for her recent pronouncement that the island of Boracay will now be smokefree. She is the only Secretary that has the audacity to implement this policy and this only goes to show that she is a true servant of the Filipino people,” said Roberto Del Rosario, ASH President.

Meanwhile, the green-group Ecowaste Coalition said that it welcomes the DOT’s initiative, which will protect urban, rural and marine ecosystems from cigarette butts. “Although small and lightweight, cigarette butts take several years to degrade, contain many harmful chemicals, pose environmental health risks, and waste public funds for cleanup and disposal,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator for Ecowaste Coalition.

Source: EcoWaste Coalition, 31 August 2018

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Russia: Decline in tobacco deaths

Life expectancy in Russia between 1994 and 2016 increased by more than 7 years, according to the most extensive health study on the nation ever conducted. The study found that age-adjusted rates of premature death from smoking dropped by nearly 34% over the same time period.

“These are significant accomplishments,” said Dr. Mohsen Naghavi, a professor of health metrics sciences at the University of Washington. “Russia’s public health officials deserve recognition for their efforts lowering the country’s burden of disease.”

However, the study suggests the nation continues to face considerable health challenges. Researchers found that more than half of all deaths in Russia are attributable to behavioural risk factors, such as smoking, alcohol use, dietary risks, low physical activity, drug use, and unsafe sex.

See also:
The Lancet, Burden of disease in Russia, 1980-2016: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016

Source: Science Magazine, 31 August 2018

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US: More Americans are quitting smoking for good

The overall smoking rate among US adults has hit an all-time low, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Preliminary data from the National Health Interview Survey showed that smoking rates declined from 15.5% in 2016 to 13.9% in 2017.

“Cigarette smoking among adults has been on a downward trajectory for decades,” said Brian King, deputy director for research translation in the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health. “It’s the lowest percentage we’ve seen since we started monitoring smoking rates in 1965.” The decline has been the combined result of a suite of tobacco control measures including taxation, public health campaigns, smokefree laws, and access to smoking cessation programs.

However, 34 million Americans still smoke, and an estimated 480,000 Americans still die each year as a result of smoking and secondhand smoke exposure. Dr. Charlie Shaeffer, a California-based cardiologist who has been active in tobacco control efforts, warned that “The numbers have declined but seem to be plateauing.”

Source: Medical Xpress, August 30 2018

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Links of the week


Cigarette litter causes significant damage to marine life. Yet only 53% of Brits think that cigarette butts get washed into the sea if they get dropped, blown or washed down the drain. Dropped cigarette butts are the most common form of littering seen across the UK, and just under 39% smokers – equivalent to 3.6 million in the UK – admit to throwing a cigarette butt down a drain within the past month. 11% of smokers do not even consider cigarette butts to be litter.

This week, Keep Britain Tidy has therefore launched a new campaign to tackle cigarette related litter, urging smokers to #BinTheButt. The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness amongst smokers and highlight the link between the cigarette butt they drop on the street or down the drain and the impact it has on the marine environment.

Source: Keep Britain Tidy

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Where there’s smoke…

TakeAPart, in collaboration with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK), is raising awareness about the deceptive strategies deployed by tobacco companies to get the next generation addicted to cigarettes.

CTFK research has found that tobacco companies are secretly paying social media stars to advertise their brand on people’s newsfeeds. Philip Morris International, British American Tobacco, Japan Tobacco International and Imperial Brands are all subverting tobacco advertising laws, flying under the radar of government regulators and abusing the policies of social media platforms to market cigarettes to youth. It’s all part of a deceptive strategy to get the next generation addicted.

Source: TakeAPart

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