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.
Smoking is ranked third among nine modifiable risk factors for dementia and is linked to an estimated 14% of cases of Alzheimer’s disease worldwide. July 2019.
Smoking can worsen several eye disorders, particularly cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and may lead to blindness.
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
Cigarette smoking can affect fertility in both women and men, sexual function in men, pregnant women’s health, the health of an unborn child, and the health of young children. December 2016.
Information on smoking and cars is now available in the Smokefree Legislation fact sheet.
Exposure to tobacco smoke via both active and passive smoking has been shown to increase the risk of developing meningococcal disease. July 2016.
A joint briefing from ASH and the Fostering Network.Foster care, adoption and electronic cigarettes
This Research Report examines the scientific knowledge and health effects of exposure to secondhand smoke.ASH Research Report: Secondhand Smoke
Although children’s exposure to secondhand smoke in the UK has fallen, around 4 million people still smoke in the presence of children. Educational campaigns are needed to raise awareness of the harmful effects of secondhand smoke on children.
Download the report here.