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