40 % of smokers (and general population) ignorant about cause of most smoking- related cancer

Public Health England | March 2018 |  Four in 10 smokers incorrectly think nicotine causes cancer

To mark No Smoking Day (14 March 2018)  Public Health England (PHE) emphasise that going ‘cold turkey’ is the least effective approach to quit cigarette smoking.  Despite this more than half (58%) of smokers still try to quit without using an aid. Although smoking rates are at their lowest ever level, there are still nearly 7 million smokers in England.  A PHE report highlights that public misunderstanding of the harmfulness of nicotine containing products, such as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and e-cigarettes, may be linked to inaccurate and confused perception of the risks of nicotine.


40 per cent of smokers and ex-smokers incorrectly think that nicotine in cigarettes is the cause of most of the smoking-related cancer. Understanding of the harms of nicotine among the general population is also poor.  In actuality the risks of nicotine use are likely to be very low or negligible but it is the cocktail of deadly chemicals in cigarette smoke, including tar and carbon monoxide, which causes almost all of the harm of smoking. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)  is safe and licenced for use in pregnancy and for people with cardiovascular disease. There is also wide international consensus that e-cigarettes are far less harmful than smoking.

The use of quit aids can greatly increase smokers chances of quitting successfully. Research shows that:

  • using NRT as a quit aid, such as patches and gums, or e-cigarettes makes it one and a half times as likely they’ll succeed
  • Their chances of quitting are doubled if using a stop smoking medicine prescribed by a GP, pharmacist or other health professional
  • expert support from a local stop smoking service gives the best chance of quitting successfully
  • combining quit aids with expert support quadruples the likelihood an individual will stop smoking successfully

The full press release is at Public Health England 

Related resources:

Local Tobacco Control Files are available from PHE 

PHE’s E-cigarette review can be read here 

Smoking Prevalence Figures can be found at NHS Digital


Stop smoking services

Feeling the heat: the decline of stop smoking services in England |Cancer Research UK and Action on Smoking and Health

no smoking

This report publishes findings from a survey of local authority tobacco control leads which indicates that half of local authorities cut budgets for stop smoking services in 2017.

The report highlights both the ongoing challenges faced by tobacco control professionals and the diversity of their responses to these challenges.

Full report: Feeling the heat: the decline of stop smoking services in England

See also: Funding cuts mean stop smoking services can’t offer support | Cancer Research UK

A new form of nicotine retailers: a systematic review of the sales and marketing practices of vape shops.

Lee JGL, Orlan EN, Sewell KB, Ribisl KM.  A new form of nicotine retailers: a systematic review of the sales and marketing practices of vape shops.  Tob Control. 2017 Dec 05

VapingOBJECTIVE: Retailers that primarily or exclusively sell electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) or vaping products represent a new category of tobacco retailer. We sought to identify (a) how vape shops can be identified and (b) sales and marketing practices of vape shops.
DATA SOURCES: A medical librarian iteratively developed a search strategy and in February 2017 searched seven academic databases (ABI/INFORM Complete, ECONLit, Embase, Entrepreneurship, PsycINFO, PubMed/MEDLINE and Scopus). We hand searched Tobacco Regulatory Science and Tobacco Prevention & Cessation.
STUDY SELECTION: We used dual, independent screening. Records were eligible if published in 2010 or later, were peer-reviewed journal articles and focused on vape shops.
DATA EXTRACTION: We used dual, independent data abstraction and assessed risk of bias. Of the 3605 records identified, 22 were included.
DATA SYNTHESIS: We conducted a narrative systematic review. Researchers relied heavily on Yelp to identify vape shops. Vape shop owners use innovative marketing strategies that sometimes diverge from those of traditional tobacco retailers. Vape shop staff believe strongly that their products are effective harm-reduction products. Vape shops were more common in areas with more White residents.
CONCLUSIONS: Vape shops represent a new type of retailer for tobacco products. Vape shops have potential to promote e-cigarettes for smoking cessation but also sometimes provide inaccurate information and mislabelled products. Given their spatial patterning, vape shops may perpetuate inequities in tobacco use. The growing literature on vape shops is complicated by researchers using different definitions of vape shops (eg, exclusively selling e-cigarettes vs also selling traditional tobacco products).


Online social networks help smokers quit

Study finds that online social networks designed to help smokers kick the tobacco habit are effective | PLOS ONE | story via ScienceDaily


Researchers examined the tobacco use of more than 2,600 smokers who participated in an online smoking cessation community. The study found that 21 percent of those classified as active users after their first week in the community reported that they quit smoking three months later. Those who were less active in the community were less likely to quit.

This is the first study to look at smokers’ behaviors in an online community over time and to report a prospective relationship between social network involvement and quitting smoking.  After three months, 21 percent of  those who actively contributed content in the community had quit smoking; 11 percent of passive users (those who only read others’ posts) had quit smoking; and only 8 percent of study participants that never visited quit smoking.

Full story at ScienceDaily

Full reference: Amanda L. Graham et al. | A prospective examination of online social network dynamics and smoking cessation. | PLOS ONE| 2017; 12 (8)

Quit rates for smoking at their highest for a decade

Success rates for quitting smoking are at their highest level for a decade, according to new figures. Experts suggest the use of e-cigarettes may be an important factor. | via OnMedica

Nearly one in five (19.8%) quit attempts were successful in the first half of 2017, up from an average of 15.7% over the last decade. The figures come from researcher carried out by University College London, with support from Cancer Research UK.

The researchers collected data from over 18,000 participants using cross-sectional household surveys from January 2007 to June 2017. The findings reveal that quit smoking success rates in England in the first six months of 2017 were higher than the average rate during the preceding decade.

Full report: Quit success rates in England 2007-2017


Stop smoking services: models of delivery

This document is intended to support directors of public health and local healthcare commissioners with the provision of local stop smoking support.

This briefing is intended to support directors of public health and local healthcare
commissioners in rapidly appraising the evidence, to enable informed decisions around the provision of local stop smoking support. The briefing describes interventions to support smokers to stop and evidence of effectiveness. In addition, it sets out the different models for delivering these interventions currently being considered by local authorities (service models)

Full document: Models of delivery for stop smoking services. Options and evidence

This is part of a group of tools provided by Public Health England to help local decision makers in relation to tobacco control. Other products include: