Stoptober 2018: Public Health England Campaign to quit smoking revealed
PHE’s Stoptober campaign, aimed at helping people to quit smoking, has launched this week.
Launched in 2012, the campaign offers free support and resources for those looking to stop smoking, including through medications, apps, social media groups and personal support from local health services. Today, the campaign is the largest and most popular event in the UK aimed at getting masses of people to give up smoking.
Since launching in 2012, Stoptober has led to more than 1.5 million quit attempts in the UK. In addition, a 2017 report by the University College of London has showed that quitting success rates in the UK are the highest they’ve been in at least a decade, up to 19.8% for the first six months of 2017 and considerably higher than the ten-year average of 15.7%.
See also: Birmingham Mail, Stoptober is here – here’s what happens to your body when you quit smoking
Source: MSN News, 01 October 2018
London: Southwark Council issues shisha warning this Stoptober
There are many misconceptions that surround shisha and this Stoptober Southwark Council is highlighting how smoking shisha tobacco can affect your health.
Research data suggests that the vast majority of people do not realise the dangers of smoking shisha, often seeing it as a safer alternative to regular cigarettes. A 2014 survey of 1,200 people in south east London found that 64% of people did not know that shisha usually contains tobacco. A further 53% of people did not think that shisha represented any danger to their health.
In partnership with ‘It’s Still Tobacco’, a community and advocacy group, Southwark Council will be raising awareness of the health impacts of smoking shisha tobacco on social media and via posters around the borough.
Source: Southwark Council, 01 October 2018
North West: First hospital to offer addiction therapy to all smoking patients
Wythenshawe Hospital in Greater Manchester has become the first in the UK to offer addiction treatment to all of its patients that smoke. Patients admitted to the hospital, which is part of Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, will be prescribed medication and offered intensive support to stay smokefree. This is part of the CURE programme being launched at the hospital to coincide with the first day of Stoptober.
The CURE is modelled on the Ottawa Model for Smoking Cessation which has helped 35% of smoking patients to quit and led to marked falls in re-admissions and mortality rates in Canada.
CURE forms part of Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership’s Making Smoking History programme. Following an initial six-month phase at Wythenshawe, the programme is due to be rolled out in hospitals across Greater Manchester by 2020. As well as transforming lives, the trust noted that the initiative would free up thousands of hospital beds each year and save the NHS in Greater Manchester an estimated £10m a year.
Source: Nursing Times, 01 October 2018
Daily Bulletin 2: Framework Convention Alliance at the WHO FCTC conference of the parties
The eighth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP8) to the World Health Organisation (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) is now onto its second day.
Today’s bulletin is titled ‘Global Strategy and IRM – Let’s Shift Gears’. It refers to the proposed ‘Global Strategy to Accelerate Tobacco Control’ which calls for coordinated action on a small number of high-impact interventions in order to reduce tobacco use between now and 2025. According to the bulletin, if endorsed the strategy will be an important tool for raising the visibility of the treaty and for helping to fund tobacco control at the global and national level.
The bulletin goes on to add that the kind of problem-solving and knowledge exchange such a strategy would make possible “is truly valuable and will support implementation of the FCTC.”
Philip Morris sues South Korea over heat-not-burn info disclosure
Philip Morris Korea has filed a lawsuit against the South Korean government, demanding the disclosure of information from recent tests that concluded heat-not-burn products contain harmful substances.
Seoul’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said in June after a study that up to five cancer-causing substances were found in the heated smoking devices, and the level of tar discovered in two products, including Philip Morris’ iQOS, exceeded that of regular cigarettes. The ministry’s announcement ran counter to the U.S.-headquartered company’s claim that its heated tobacco product is less likely to cause disease than traditional cigarettes, citing studies conducted in Germany, Japan and China.
Philip Morris said the government study wrongly centered on tar, which is only applicable to smoke created by regular cigarettes, while the electronic devices do not generate smoke.
See also: Financial Times, Philip Morris sues Seoul over e-cigarette information disclosure
Source: Reuters, 01 October 2018
Campaigners urge WHO to give vaping a chance
Seventy public health experts and tobacco control campaigners have urged the World Health Organization (WHO) to adopt a more sympathetic attitude to e-cigarettes and other alternatives to smoking in a letter to the WHO Director General, stating that the devices “have the potential to bring the epidemic of smoking-caused disease to a more rapid conclusion”.
Their joint letter to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, is intended to influence this week’s conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
In their letter, the advocates of harm reduction, most of whom are university or medical school professors, urged the WHO not to let uncertainty about long-term effects of e-cigarettes block their introduction: “It is true we will not have complete information about the impacts of new products until they have been used exclusively for several decades — and given the complex patterns of use, we may never,” they wrote. “But we already have sufficient knowledge based on the physical and chemical processes involved, the toxicology of emissions and exposure markers, to be confident these non-combustion products will be much less harmful than smoking.”
Source: Financial Times, 01 October 2018
Tobacco control measures are working, but too slowly in less-developed countries
“Great progress” has been made in tackling tobacco consumption and saving lives but more needs to be done to challenge the industry’s attempts to “bypass” international regulations, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.
The 181 Parties to the WHO Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) have developed strategies “to prevent tobacco industry interference with tobacco control policies”. As a result of the treaty, countries have increased taxes on tobacco, established smokefree spaces and made it obligatory for manufacturers to show graphic health warnings on their products, as well as using plain packaging.
Despite these advances, “this is not a time to be complacent,” said Dr Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva, head of the WHO FCTC Secretariat. “With astronomical budgets, the tobacco industry continues its furious efforts to undermine the implementation of our treaty.”
See also: Mail on Sunday, Battle for lungs and minds as tobacco control treaty meeting opens
Source: UN News, 01 October 2018
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People with severe mental illness have far worse physical health
New evidence published by Public Health England (PHE) shows that people with Severe Mental Illness (SMI) have a significantly higher prevalence of smoking, obesity, diabetes, COPD and cardiovascular disease than the general population.
People with SMI also die on average 15-20 years earlier than members of the general population, which means that they have a life expectancy similar to that of an adult in the 1950s. Tobacco use is a major risk factor for many of the conditions contributing to this inequality, along with poor diet and drug and alcohol misuse.
PHE’s head of clinical epidemiology, Professor Julia Verne said: “It’s unacceptable that people with severe mental illness live with more ill health and die up to 20 years younger than the rest of the population. We need to look beyond mental illness to a ‘whole person’ approach to health care, helping to improve peoples’ lives. It is vital that people experiencing severe mental illness are supported to improve their physical health, including better access to support and services such as screening programmes, health checks and stop smoking services.”
Source: South Wales Argus, 27 September 2018
Public Health England Briefing: Severe mental illness (SMI) and physical health inequalities
South East: Albion charity encourages smokers to give up the habit
A health and wellbeing charity in Albion— Albion in the Community(AITC)—has launched a campaign encouraging people to quit smoking.
The charity is offering a combination of drop-in sessions and one-to-one support providing free advice on the different ways to quit smoking and adopt a healthier lifestyle. They are also providing nicotine replacement therapies and supporting people to use e-cigarettes to help them quit.
Siobhan Meaker, health manager at AITC, said: “If you’re thinking about quitting, we are on your team. We know with the right support you can become smoke free and feel the benefits straight away. A 20-a-day habit doesn’t just harm your health, it can hit your wallet hard, costing more than £3,000 a year.”
Source: The Argus, 28 September 2018
See also: Albion in the Community
New Oxfordshire stop smoking campaign launches
Oxfordshire County Council has launched a new stop smoking service to coincide with Stoptober.
The Smokefreelife Oxfordshire service will be organising a number of events throughout October where they will be providing guidance on quitting aids and referrals for ongoing support.
Elizabeth West, health improvement manager at the service, said: “There are so many benefits to giving up smoking and Smokefreelife Oxfordshire will be able to help with advice and support from fully qualified advisors.”
Source: The Herald, 27 September 2018
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Health matters: stopping smoking – what works?
The latest Health Matters guidance published by Public Health England focuses on smoking and the best ways to quit. It assesses the effectiveness of the most common methods people use to quit and links to a number of resources and services designed to support people to stop smoking.
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Public health falls victim to spending cuts, figures show
Cuts to public health budgets have led to significant reductions in the availability of local support for smoking cessation, obesity, drug and alcohol addiction, and sexual health.
Labour analysed data published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and found that 130 of 152 local councils are spending less on public health this year than in 2017-18. Smoking cessation budgets are set to be cut by £3.4 million in 88 councils.
Jonathan Ashworth, the Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said: “Local services which are there to keep people well and out of hospital are to be slashed in every part of England. These cuts to public health budgets will leave people sicker and, in the long run, will cost the NHS much more than they save.”
Shirley Cramer, the chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health, said the cuts would “have a devastating impact on the longer-term health of our nation. Cuts to sexual health, stop smoking and drug misuse services will save money in the short term, but will cost far more over coming decades.”
Source: The Guardian, 20 September 2018
Tobacco display ban linked to fewer children buying cigarettes
New research published in the Journal of Tobacco Control shows that the removal of tobacco product displays from shops may have reduced the proportion of children buying cigarettes by up to 17%. The display of tobacco products at the point of sale was banned in all shops the UK in 2015.
However, the researchers from Imperial College London’s School of Public Health also found that over two thirds of child smokers had not been refused cigarettes when they last attempted to buy them.
Dr Anthony Laverty, lead author of the study, said: “We know that smoking kills one in every two smokers, and that children who smoke are likely to continue smoking throughout their lifetime, seriously increasing their risk of disease… This research provides evidence that the introduction of display bans will be an effective measure against children smoking – and could help save them from starting a deadly habit.”
Source: ITV, 21 September 2018
UK to Fall Short of UN Target for Reducing Premature Deaths from Non-Communicable Diseases
A study published in The Lancet has found that 46% of countries (for women) and 52% (for men) are likely to miss the UN target for reducing deaths from Non-Communicable Diseases (NDCs) by one third by 2030. NCDs are non-infectious conditions including cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease and diabetes, and are heavily influenced by factors including smoking, obesity and alcohol and drug use.
Only 35 nations are projected to meet the target, with the UK likely to fall short unless the rate of NCD decline increases. A 30-year-old woman in the UK has a 9% chance of dying from the four key NDCs before her 70th birthday, compared to a 13% chance for a 30-year old man.
Professor Majid Ezzati, lead author of the study, said: “Non-communicable diseases are the main cause of premature death for most countries. Treatment of hypertension and controlling tobacco and alcohol use alone can prevent millions of deaths from cancer, heart disease, stroke and other NCDs. But there is also a need for affordable high-quality care to diagnose and treat chronic diseases as early as possible.”
Source: Care Appointments, 21 September 2018
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Public Health England has launched its annual Stoptober campaign which starts next week. The campaign is accompanied by a wide range of resources which inform smokers about the support available to help them quit.
Just one in 10 of us will be smokers in 2023, say health officials
Health officials have estimated that just 1 in 10 people will be smokers in five years’ time. Public Health England (PHE) said that smoking rates among adults in England are expected to fall from the current level of 14.9% to around 10% by 2023. The number of smokers in England has already fallen by more than a million since 2014, it added.
The estimate comes as PHE launched its annual Stoptober campaign, encouraging smokers to quit in October. The campaign will see the introduction of a free online personal quit plan service, which provides smokers with a suggested combination of support based on their level of tobacco dependency and what quitting support they have used previously. It will be available from Thursday ahead of the official start of the campaign on the 1st of October. PHE estimates that of the 6.1 million smokers in England, around six in 10 want to quit.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of health charity ASH (Action on Smoking and Health), said: “There are almost as many different ways of quitting as there are smokers, but to succeed smokers need motivation. ASH is delighted to see Stoptober is back on TV with a new ad campaign, which will raise awareness and provide valuable additional encouragement for smokers trying to quit with Stoptober.”
Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “Councils remain committed to helping smokers quit, however this is made all the more difficult by the Government’s reductions to the public health budget, which councils use to fund stop-smoking services. We have long argued that this is a short-term approach which will only compound acute pressures for NHS services further down the line.”
Stoptober, Personal Quit Plan
The Telegraph, Smoking will be ‘eradicated in England by 2030’
BBC, ‘Don’t go cold turkey’ to quit smoking
Rye & Battle Observer, Smokers in East Sussex urged to kick the habit during Stoptober
Viking FM, Stoptober returns to Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire
Downs Mail, Increase your chances of quitting smoking with national campaign
Hartlepool Mail, Smoking-related hospital admissions in Hartlepool hit eight year high
Source: Free Press, 20 September 2018
Public health campaigns “incredibly good value for money”
Investing money in the Stoptober campaign leads to better results, says Professor Robert West, who was involved in the evaluation of the campaign in its first year. The review into the first Stoptober campaign estimated that it generated an additional 350,000 quit attempts, and led to a “significant increase in the quit attempt rate in that specific month compared to other months of the year,” according to Professor West.
Professor West said that public health campaigns are “incredibly good value for money in terms of public health benefit.” However, he also stated “it’s always a battle for the people in Public Health England (PHE) to get agreements for funding to do it.”
An official report evaluating the 2016 Stoptober campaign sets out a significant drop in media spend for the campaign. The PHE document found “In 2016, competing priorities led to a significant budget reduction for Stoptober. Most notably, media spend was reduced from £3.1 million in 2015 to £390,000 in 2016.”
Source: Basingstoke Gazette, 20 September 2018
North East: Quitting smoking saves thousands of pounds
With the help of an e-cigarette, South Shields mum Deborah Davison gave up cigarettes in January after 40 years of smoking. Deborah says she has noticed significant improvements to her health and has already saved over £2,000.
Deborah said, “Generally, I feel much better and a number of people have noticed a difference in me. With the money I’ve saved I’ve been able to buy things for my grandchildren without waiting for pay day to come around and when my son started a new job and needed a new bus pass, I was able to buy it for him. I have helped my daughter purchase school uniforms for her children and it’s great to be able to support them. I’m planning to treat myself next year and go on holiday to somewhere hot and exotic.”
Councillor Tracey Dixon, lead member for independence and wellbeing at South Tyneside Council, said, “The number of people smoking in the Borough has reduced in the last five years but it is a sad statistic that almost 400 people still die in South Tyneside each year as a result of smoking. Quitting smoking is the single biggest thing you can do to improve your health and Stoptober is the perfect time to make that resolution to quit. While we would urge people to seek out the support of stop smoking services, vaping can also be an effective tool in helping people to kick the habit.”
Source: The Shields Gazette, 20 September 2018
US: Most citizens are still misinformed about e-cigarettes
A recent poll from Rasmussen found that 50% of Americans believe vaping is no safer than smoking cigarettes; 13% believe vaping is less safe than tobacco smoking; and 17% are unsure which is safer. Similarly, data compiled by the National Cancer Institute’s Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS), indicated that in 2017, the number of smokers believing e-cigarettes to be more harmful than regular cigarettes had increased since 2013.
Rasmussen, Most Say E-Cigarettes No Healthier Than Traditional Ones
Source: Vaping Post, 19 September 2018
England facing changing health needs
Public Health England has published its latest Health Profile for England report, which shows rising rates of diabetes, obesity, dementia and mental health issues.
Despite progress made in reducing smoking rates in recent years, smoking remains one of the top two risk factors for ill health, along with obesity. The report also highlights persisting health inequalities with people in the richest areas of England experiencing 19 more healthy life years than those from the poorest areas.
Professor John Newton, director of health improvement at Public Health England, said: “The challenge now is for the NHS to respond to this changing landscape and to focus on preventing as well as treating the conditions which are causing the greatest disease burden across our nation. In many ways it needs to respond more quickly than any time in its history because the speed of the change in these data, in the epidemiology, is really quite remarkable.”
Source: BBC, 11 September 2018
See also: Health Profile for England 2018
Alcohol adviser quits over public health agency links to drink industry
A senior advisor to Public Health England (PHE) has resigned over the organisations’ partnership with the alcohol industry in its latest alcohol awareness campaign.
Professor Ian Gilmore, the agency’s chief external alcohol adviser, has said they are ignoring guidance from the World Health Organisation about avoiding influence from the alcohol industry. His comments were echoed by Professor John Britton, Co-Chair of the PHE Tobacco Control Implementation Board, who has threatened to resign if the agency continues to share a platform with the alcohol industry.
In a letter published in The Times, they argue that PHE has failed “to learn the lessons from the use by the tobacco and alcohol industries of voluntary agreements and other partnerships with health bodies to undermine, water down or neutralise policies to reduce consumption.”
In a separate interview on the BBC’s Today Programme, Professor Britton drew parallels with voluntary agreements with the tobacco industry, saying that: “the point is not that the individual measure is something that is necessarily counter to public health messaging. It’s the fact that the partnership with industry then leads to other devaluing or diluting of public health policy.”
Source: The Times, 11 September 2018
See also: BBC Today Programme (listen from 1:35:00)
Tobacco Industry research claims England won’t be cigarette free until after 2050
Research commissioned by the tobacco company Philip Morris International estimates that just 10 local authorities, including Bristol and York, will be smokefree before 2030.
The research was carried out by Frontier Economics who examined existing reductions in adult smoking rates to predict future trends.
Source: The Metro, 11 September 2018
York: Rise in pregnant women smoking at end of last year
A recent report has found that the number of pregnant women in the Vale of York who smoke increased from 7.5 per cent in the third quarter of last year to 11.9 per cent at the end of the year.
Changes to the delivery of smoking cessation services have meant that pregnant women are one of the few groups who qualify for free nicotine replacement therapies. However, figures released following a Freedom of Information request show that the number of pregnant women receiving support to quit smoking dropped from 66% in 2015 to just 17% in 2017.
Vicky Salt, policy manager at health charity ASH, said: “Smoking during pregnancy is a leading cause of poor birth outcomes so it’s concerning that rates of smoking among pregnant women have not declined in York over the past year. We know that pregnant smokers often need extra support to quit but with squeezed budgets this extra help is not always available. The declining use of stop smoking services [means that] some of the most vulnerable smokers, like pregnant women, are being left without support.”
Source: Yorkpress, 10 September 2018
North East: Smoking costs South Tyneside more than £34 million a year
Figures obtained from ASH’s Ready Reckoner tool show that smoking costs South Tyneside more than £34 million a year, from costs including NHS treatment, sick days, and smoking breaks.
This includes £20 million due to lost working days, £7 million due to smoking-related hospital admissions, and £5.4 million arising from social care costs. South Tyneside has an adult smoking rate of 19% compared to the English average of 14.9%.
Deborah Arnott, ASH chief executive, said: “Our tool shows just how significant the financial impact of smoking is at local level and makes the case for local authorities to invest in measures to discourage young people from taking up smoking and motivate adult smokers to quit. However, cuts to public health budgets mean that many local authorities no longer have the resources they need to invest in driving down smoking rates, this is a false economy that is damaging our local communities.”
Source: Shields Gazette, 10 September 2018
North Yorkshire campaign to stop smoking
A campaign backed by North Yorkshire County Council is raising awareness about the harms of smoking.
The ‘Don’t Be The 1’ campaign, which has launched in the run-up to Stoptober, targets current smokers and will highlight how one in two long term smokers will die from a smoking-related disease.
Katie Needham, consultant in public health for North Yorkshire, said: “Evidence shows one in two smokers will die from a smoking-related disease, some in their 40s and 50s. Worryingly, surveys show nine out of ten smokers underestimate the risk, with about half believing it’s one in ten or less. Smoking tobacco is much more harmful than most people think.”
Source: Darlington and Stockton Times, 11 September 2018
See also: Don’t Be The 1 website
North West: Relief for Blackpool’s public health grant as £5 million health budget loss averted
Public Health England has scrapped a proposed change to the distribution of public health grants which would have seen Blackpool’s annual grant cut from £18m to £13m.
The grants are used to address public health issues such as smoking, alcohol abuse and obesity. Blackpool has one of the lowest life expectancies in the country and has significantly higher levels of adult smoking prevalence (22.5%) than the national average (14.9%).
Source: Blackpool Gazette, 10 September 2018
21 September 2017
As the annual Stoptober campaign to encourage smokers to quit is launched, ASH confirms that England is one of the best places to try to give up.
The UK consistently tops the European rankings for tobacco control policy  and smoking prevalence has been steadily falling for several years.  At a global level, the World Health Organisation recognises the UK as a world leader in tobacco control. 
There are a number of policies in place to encourage smokers to kick the habit. In the ten years since the ban on smoking in public places was introduced in England in 2007, there are almost two million fewer smokers.  Support for the smoking ban is stronger than ever, especially among smokers themselves.  Electronic cigarettes have had a significant impact, too. 2.9 million adults in England currently use electronic cigarettes, primarily to help them quit and to prevent them from relapsing back to smoking. 
While England continues to make great progress towards a smokefree generation, the vision of the government’s tobacco control plan , we must not become complacent. There needs to be continued access to support for quitting all year round in order for us to beat the tobacco epidemic once and for all.
Evidence shows that the most effective way to quit smoking is through a combination of professional face to face support and stop smoking aids, such as nicotine patches, gum, or electronic cigarettes. This approach has been shown to be four times more effective than trying to quit without aids or support. 
Hazel Cheeseman, ASH Director of Policy, said:
“With the help of Stoptober there has never been a better time to try to quit smoking. We know that smokers find e-cigarettes helpful in quitting so it’s great that Stoptober is encouraging their use for the first time this year.”
Notes and Links:
Action on Smoking and Health is a health charity working to eliminate the harm caused by tobacco use. For more information see: www.ash.org.uk/about-ash
ASH receives funding for its programme of work from Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation.
ASH staff are available for interview and have an ISDN line. For more information contact ASH on 020 7404 0242 or out of hours Deborah Arnott on 07976 935 987 or Hazel Cheeseman on 07754 358 593.
 L Joossens, M Raw, The Tobacco Control Scale 2013 in Europe. Brussels, 2014. http://www.europeancancerleagues.org/images/TobaccoControl/TCS_2013_in_Europe_13-03-14_final_1.pdf
 Statistics on Smoking in England 2017. NHS Digital, June 2017. https://digital.nhs.uk/catalogue/PUB24228
 World Health Organisation report on the global tobacco epidemic 2017. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2017/tobacco-report/en/
 Cancer Research UK press release: British smokers down by 1.9 million since the ban. 1 July 2017. http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-us/cancer-news/press-release/2017-07-01-british-smokers-down-by-19million-since-the-ban
 ASH report Smokefree: The First Ten Years. London, July 2017. https://ash.org.uk/information-and-resources/reports-submissions/reports/smokefree-the-first-ten-years/
 ASH factsheet: Use of e-cigarettes among adults in Great Britain 2017. https://ash.org.uk/download/use-of-e-cigarettes-among-adults-in-great-britain-2017/
 Towards a smoke-free generation: tobacco control plan for England. Department of Health, 2017. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/towards-a-smoke-free-generation-tobacco-control-plan-for-england
 Public Health England website – https://campaignresources.phe.gov.uk/resources/campaigns/6-stoptober/overview