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.
Opinion: Funders must be wary of industry alliances
In this piece, Linda Bauld – Professor of Health Policy and Deputy Director of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, tells us why grant making have to do more to stop corporate money from distorting science.
“Do you consider yourself a type A personality — ambitious and impatient? If so, you can thank the tobacco industry for that bit of self-knowledge. For decades, the cigarette companies Philip Morris International and R. J. Reynolds supported and promoted studies linking a driven personality to an increased risk of heart disease. The apparent motivation? To raise questions over smoking as a contributor. Subsequent research by scientists without funding from the tobacco industry did not link type A personalities to higher rates of disease or death.
Copious case studies document how industry influence can muddy research on the health impacts of soda, tobacco, fossil fuels and more, but researchers are largely unaware of this. It is time for research funders to integrate this information and consider vested interests as a force in the complex research system.”
Source: Nature 14 August 2018
France: Secondhand smoke puts children at risk of rheumatoid arthritis
A new study which followed 98,995 French female volunteers from 1990 to the present day has found that children exposed to tobacco smoke are just as likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis as smokers. This 28-year study, by a team of French researchers, adds to the growing list of dangers secondhand poses to children.
Dr Boutron-Ruault, lead author of the study, said “These results also highlight the importance of children – especially those with a family history of this form of arthritis – avoiding secondhand smoke.”
Source: Mail Online 15 August 2018
US: Bloomberg targets Big Tobacco’s ‘underhanded tactics’
Michael Bloomberg, billionaire and former New York mayor, has given tobacco control organisations $20 million to assist their campaign against the tobacco industry, which aggressively markets its product worldwide, and especially in developing countries. The recipient organisations (based in France, England and Thailand) jointly secured the three-year grant to shine a light on industry-led sabotage of policies designed to reduce tobacco use.
For example tactics deployed by big tobacco in order to further expand its markets have included suing governments seeking to implement plain packaging for cigarettes, sponsoring cultural events or sports teams, and challenging the legality of smokefree zones.
Source: MedicalXpress 14 August 2018
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
Belfast: Vaping ban in the grounds of hospitals
The Western Health and Social Care Trust has strengthened its strict no smoking policy to include no vaping on its hospital grounds. Staff are being warned that they may face disciplinary action if they fail to stick to the rules. Staff have been directed to ask carers and service users who smoke, to refrain from doing so an hour before any scheduled visit and while they are there.
Source: Belfast Telegraph, 27 June 2018
WTO to rule on landmark tobacco case later today (Thursday 28th June)
A World Trade Organization adjudication panel will rule today on a dispute over Australia’s tough tobacco packaging rules, widely seen as a test case for public health legislation globally.
The WTO said the ruling in the case, brought against Australia by Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Indonesia, would be published at around 1500 GMT. The ruling is expected to be appealed, the WTO’s chief judge has said.
Source: Reuters, 28 June 2018
Tokyo passes tough anti-smoking law ahead of 2020 Olympics
Tokyo, Japan’s capital and host of the 2020 Summer Olympics, passed a tough anti-smoking law on Wednesday that will effectively ban smoking in most of the city’s bars and restaurants in the run-up to the games. Japan lags behind many countries in efforts to fight smoking, with attempts to tackle tobacco often stymied by pro-smoking politicians, restaurateurs and Japan Tobacco, which is one-third owned by the government.
The new city law, which takes full effect several months before the Olympics open on July 24, 2020, bans smoking in any bar or restaurant with hired employees.
Source: Reuters, 27 June 2018
China: Court verdict paves way for smokefree railways
A provincial court ruled on Tuesday that the Harbin Railway Bureau (of Northeast China’s Heilongjiang province) should remove smoking zones and ashtrays in its trains and stations. In June last year, a college student sued the Harbin Railway Bureau because of the secondhand smoke she was forced to inhale on a train. The student claimed compensation of 102.5 yuan ($15.54), the price of her ticket, plus 1 yuan for mental distress, and sought the removal of all the smoking zones and ashtrays in the bureau’s railway stations and trains.
Legal Daily comments: “The judgment is meaningful as it is the first time that a railway department has been instructed by a court to ban smoking in its stations and on the trains it operates, which is directly related to the health and safety of hundreds of millions of passengers.”
According to the Railway Safety Administration Regulation that came into effect on Jan 1, 2014, smoking is strictly banned on high-speed trains and in the carriages of other trains. However, it is permitted in the connecting areas between carriages of non high-speed trains, where ashtrays are often installed. The smoke from these areas often drifts into the carriages, making all passengers exposed to secondhand smoke.
Source: China Daily, 28 June 2018
Hong Kong study: Breastfeeding mothers stop nursing sooner when living with smokers
Nursing mothers who live with two or more smokers are more likely to stop breastfeeding sooner than those who live in non-smoking households. In a Hong Kong-based study, researchers discovered that these mothers are at 30% higher risk for ending breastfeeding before a year.
The study examined a cohort of 1,277 mother and baby pairs from four major hospitals in Hong Kong. Researchers used self-reported questionnaires to collect demographic data, parental smoking habits, and other variable data.
Source: Bright Surf, 27 June 2018
See also: Breastfeeding Medicine, The Effects of Secondary Cigarette Smoke from Household Members on Breastfeeding Duration: A Prospective Cohort Study
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.
This report provides an overview of the health impact of smoking and smokeless tobacco on on oral health.Tobacco and Oral Health
Exposure to tobacco smoke via both active and passive smoking has been shown to increase the risk of developing meningococcal disease. July 2016.
ASH response to a consultation on the future of the Health Survey for EnglandHSE_Consultation_2016_ASH_response.pdf
A joint briefing from ASH and the Fostering Network. Jan. 2016Foster care, adoption and smoking
ASH response to Welsh Government consultation on smoking in prisons.ASH_welshprisonsconsultationresponse.pdf
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.