North East: NHS staff make pledge on World No Tobacco Day
Senior staff at Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, a provider of mental health and disability services, have made a public commitment to reduce smoking rates among both their patients and staff.
NTW Chair, Ken Jarrold, Chief Executive, John Lawlor and Medical Director, Dr Rajesh Nadkarni have all signed the NHS smokefree pledge, which has been endorsed by NHS England, the Department of Health, the Royal College of Physicians and the British Medical Association.
John Lawlor, Chief Executive said: “The NHS Smokefree Pledge is a really positive step towards improving the health of people with serious mental health conditions who die on average 20 years earlier than the general population due to smoking. We will play our part by signing the pledge and continuing to reduce smoking rates across our organisation.”
Source: NE Connected, 4 June 2018
Suffolk: County Council invests in tobacco firm
Information published for Suffolk County Council’s pension fund committee shows that despite criticism for investing in tobacco stocks the Council has increased its tobacco portfolio.
New figures have revealed that the investment in British American Tobacco is worth £16.2m – 0.6% of the fund and the fourth largest sum behind Royal Dutch Shell, Microsoft and Ferguson.
Ipswich MP Sandy Martin has said that the public health team, central government and health services were all helping people to stop smoking, which made the council’s investment “ridiculous”.
Source: Coastal Scene, 4 June 2018
California: Social Smoking Campaign Urges ‘Smokers in Denial’ to Wake Up
Duncan Channon and the California Tobacco Control Program have launched a new anti-smoking campaign that targets social smokers age 21 to 35 who typically don’t view themselves as ‘smokers’ and therefore underestimate the harm of lighting up at parties and other social events.
The campaign evokes smokers’ distorted perception of their habit and its harm, along with statistics that reveal the true health consequences of occasional smoking and alternate forms of tobacco.
The campaign launches across the state with special focus on reaching LGBTQ, Hispanic, Asian and African-American communities that are at higher risk for social smoking.
Source: Media Post, 4 June 2018
See also: Never Just a Smoke
USA: Lung cancer risk ‘drops dramatically’ within five years of quitting smoking
Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in the US have analysed the Framingham Heart Study, which looked at 8,907 people who had been followed for 25 to 34 years.
During this period, 284 lung cancers were diagnosed, nearly 93% of which occurred among heavy smokers – those who had smoked at least a pack of cigarettes a day for 21 years or more.
Five years after quitting, the risk of developing lung cancer in former heavy smokers dropped by 39% compared to current smokers, and continued to fall as time went on.
However, even 25 years after quitting, their lung cancer risk remained over threefold higher compared to people who had never smoked.
Author Hilary Tindle, professor of medicine at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, said: “The fact that lung cancer risk drops relatively quickly after quitting smoking, compared to continuing smoking, gives new motivation.”
Source: Health Insurance Daily, 4 June 2018
See also: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Lifetime smoking history and risk of lung cancer
Nigeria: Tax rise on tobacco and alcohol as fears grow of a public health crisis
A rise in excise duties has come into force in Nigeria, amid fears that growing tobacco and alcohol consumption could threaten a public health crisis. Although the number of women smoking has nearly halved over the past 18 years, the proportion of Nigerian men who have taken up the habit has increased to 17.4% from 11% in 2000. The rise has been attributed to less control on tobacco advertising and a growth in disposable income in the region, experts say.
The finance ministry has said it hopes the duties would have “a dual benefit of raising the government’s fiscal revenues and reducing the health hazards associated with tobacco-related diseases and alcoholic abuse.”
However, though the IMF proposed a doubling of tariffs, taxes on cigarettes will be raised by just four pence a year for the next three years, so campaigners have questioned how effective this will be.
Source: Telegraph, 4 June 2018
China: Tobacco regulator argues for indoor space for smokers
The regulator of China’s tobacco industry, which oversees state monopoly China National Tobacco Corp, has called for the introduction of designated indoor smoking areas, claiming enforcing bans in all public spaces was too difficult.
The former head of tobacco control at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Yang Gonghuan, has accused China Tobacco of attempting to thwart control measures by interfering in policy-making. Around 300 million of China’s 1.4 billion people smoke, and China Tobacco sells 98% of all tobacco consumed in China. It is easily the world’s largest tobacco producer by volume, with its sales totalling 1.1 trillion yuan ($171.81 billion) last year.
Source: Reuters, 4 June 2018