Matt Hancock begins new role as Health Secretary
The MP for West Suffolk, Matt Hancock, said he is looking forward to starting his new role as Health Secretary after being appointed yesterday (July 9). Hancock was promoted to the cabinet as the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in a reshuffle in January. He replaces Jeremy Hunt who has taken over as Foreign Secretary following the resignation of Boris Johnson on Monday afternoon.
The Department of Health faces significant challenges over staffing levels, waiting times and patient care, despite a £20bn cash pledge from Ms May to mark its 70th anniversary.
Source: The Independent, 10 July 2018
Argyll and Bute urged to adopt anti-tobacco policy
Community leaders in Argyll and Bute are to push for a new anti-tobacco strategy already in use elsewhere in Scotland. One in six people aged 16 and over in Argyll and Bute are smokers, a meeting of the area’s community planning partnership (CPP) heard last week.
Ms Stephenson works as the smoking cessation co-ordinator with NHS Highland, which runs the HSCP together with the council. Ms Stephenson told members of the CPP: “We don’t have a tobacco policy in Argyll and Bute, so we are asking to adopt [the] policy which is in use by NHS Highland.”
Source: Helensburgh Advertiser, 10 July 2018
Barnsley: significant drop in smoking levels in the space of only 12 months
Barnsley is on course towards its target of eradicating smoking among the current primary school population as they reach maturity. Barnsley Council and other public bodies are working together to help existing smokers to quit and to ensure older children are not tempted into tobacco use, by keeping the habit hidden from children, so they do not reach their teens regarding the habit as normal.
That work has included making all the town’s major play parks voluntary smoke free zones and rolling out a similar programme for schools, starting with primaries, to discourage parents from smoking when they drop off or collect children.
Latest figures have just been released which show in 2017, 18.2% of the town’s adult population were smokers, down from 20.6% the previous year and beating a target to reduce levels to 20%.
Source: Barnsley Chronicle, 10 July 2018
Singapore: Cameras to be deployed to detect illegal smoking
The National Environment Agency (NEA) intends to deploy surveillance cameras with high-definition thermal sensors around the island to help detect smoking in prohibited areas. Smoking is now prohibited in about 32,000 premises and locations, such as entertainment outlets, shopping malls, office premises, hospitals, bus stops, covered walkways, lift lobbies, stairwells and entrances to buildings.
Cameras deployed in areas where smoking is prevalent but prohibited will record images of the person as well as the date and time. The tamper-proof thermal cameras, which can detect a person holding a lighted cigarette during the day or night, will be placed discreetly on rooftops, in common corridors and staircases of residential buildings, multi-storey car parks and other locations.
Source: The Straits Times, 10 July 2018
USA: LGBT teens are ‘far more likely’ to smoke or vape than straight teens
According to a new report out of Ohio, almost double the number of gay, lesbian, or bisexual teens smoke regular cigarettes and e-cigarettes than their straight and questioning peers. The data came out of the state’s Health Department and the Ohio Healthy Youth Environments Survey Data.
A little over 25% of trans or gender nonconforming teens have used e-cigarettes in the last 30 days and almost 20% reported having smoked. For straight teens, just over 6% have smoked and 10% have vaped in the last 30 days.
The survey was conducted during the 2016-17 school year.
Source: Gaystar News, 9 July 2018
Opinion: Why don’t more young women vape?
Sophie Jarvis from the Adam Smith Institute comments on vaping trends
When it comes to tackling the harms of smoking we still seem to stick to an abstinence-only approach. It should be made easier for adults to switch to safer (but not risk-free) alternatives.
Public Health England have to their credit highlighted the relative benefits of vaping by pointing out that it’s at least 95% safer than smoking. In other words, it would take 20 non-smokers to take up vaping to outweigh the good of one smoker switching the other way.
British vaping laws aren’t that Victorian, but there’s room for improvement. While we allow vape shops and vaping in public places, e-cigarette manufacturers face stiff regulation and are prevented from talking about the relative risks of vaping compared with smoking.
The EU’s Tobacco Products Directive limits tank sizes, regulates nicotine content, and restricts the ability for e-cigarette sellers to market their products effectively. We know from other countries that heavy-handed e-cigarette laws don’t help smokers: in Australia, where e-cigarettes are banned, smokers as a proportion of the population dropped by just 0.6% between 2013-2016. By contrast, the UK’s relatively liberal approach to vaping lead to smoking rates falling by 2.9%. Japan also banned e-cigarettes, but they allow heat-not-burn products which has resulted in a significant decline in cigarette sales.
Source: Spectator, 25 June 2018
Note: The Adam Smith Institute has received money from the tobacco industry in the past
Scotland: Smokers outside Larbert hospital to be fined
Larbet hospital in Falkirk will soon be fining those who smoke too near the hospital premises. The Scottish Government aims to make it an offence to smoke within 15 metres of hospitals, as part of a tobacco control action plan which includes 44 specific actions.
The NHS in Scotland has spent years trying to persuade smokers not to smoke in hospital grounds, and now intends to tackle the issue by bringing in new legislation.
However no final decision has been made on whether vaping should continue to be allowed around NHS facilities – the Scottish Government aims to work with health boards and integration boards to “try and reach a consensus” on the issue.
The move is part of tobacco control action plan aimed at addressing health inequalities and cutting smoking rates, particularly in deprived areas.
Source: Falkirk Herald, 22 June 2018
USA: Study finds large increase in number of college campuses going smokefree
Smoking continues to fall out of favour at colleges and universities across America, a new study has found. As of November 2017, over 2,000 U.S. college campuses were smokefree or tobacco-free (no smokeless tobacco use or smoking), compared with only 774 campuses in 2012, the report found.
In 2017, 84% of smokefree campuses were tobacco-free, compared with 73% of smokefree campuses in 2012, according to the study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation.
“Colleges and universities are ideal places to promote healthy behaviours that can continue for a lifetime, including being tobacco-free,” Corinne Graffunder, director of the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health, said in an agency news release.
Source: Health Day, 22 June 2018
See also: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Smoke-Free and Tobacco-Free Policies in Colleges and Universities – United States and Territories, 2017 (page 10 of PDF download)
Signs that Philip Morris’s iQOS heat-not-burn product might not be a big hit
Philip Morris International’s (PMI) lacklustre first-quarter earnings report has weighed heavily on the tobacco industry, after the company experienced a dramatic drop off in sales of its next-generation heat-not-burn tobacco devices in Japan. Their concern is that the device won’t be able to offset the secular decline in traditional cigarette sales.
The rollout of the iQOS heat-not-burn device marked a significant change in how Philip Morris presented itself to the public and investors. The future, Philip Morris said, was going to be smokefree, and the company took out full-page ads in newspapers calling on smokers to quit and switch to alternative products.
Japan was a seminal point for iQOS, and after rolling it out nationwide, it captured 80% of the heat-not-burn market in the country. However, PMI’s earnings report indicated it has burned through all of the early adopters of the new technology and now faced the prospect of convincing older, more conservative smokers to switch, a more difficult and costly task. It has since cut the cost of iQOS devices to try and boost sales.
Source: Yahoo Finance, 22 June 2018
China: On-screen smoking scenes in Chinese media declining
The number of scenes depicting tobacco smoking in Chinese movies and TV series have declined overall in the last decade, according to the Chinese Association on Tobacco Control. However the figures for 2017 were worse than in 2016, according to the public health charity.
This is the 10th consecutive year the association has surveyed Chinese movies and television shows. Twenty of the top thirty movie blockbusters had at least one smoking scene last year, down 23% from 2007. The declining trend in TV series was even more apparent; 17 of the 30 most-watched shows had smoking scenes in 2017, down by 37% from 10 years ago.
Under regulations issued in 2009 and 2011 by the former State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, smoking scenes are “strictly controlled” rather than banned.
Source: China Daily, 25 June 2018