Independent expert e-cigarettes evidence review

An evidence review commissioned by Public Health England has been published on e-cigarettes.

Th review considers:

  • cigarette use among young people and adults
  •  public attitudes
  • the impact on quitting smoking
  • an update on risks to health and the role of nicotine

 The main findings of the evidence review are:

  • vaping poses only a small fraction of the risks of smoking and switching completely from smoking to vaping conveys substantial health benefits
  • e-cigarettes could be contributing to at least 20,000 successful new quits per year and possibly many more
  • e-cigarette use is associated with improved quit success rates over the last year and an accelerated drop in smoking rates across the country
  • many thousands of smokers incorrectly believe that vaping is as harmful as smoking; around 40% of smokers have not even tried an e-cigarette
  • there is much public misunderstanding about nicotine (less than 10% of adults understand that most of the harms to health from smoking are not caused by nicotine)
  • the use of e-cigarettes in the UK has plateaued over the last few years at just under 3 million
  • the evidence does not support the concern that e-cigarettes are a route into smoking among young people (youth smoking rates in the UK continue to decline, regular use is rare and is almost entirely confined to those who have smoked).

An executive summary is available from Public Health England

The full report can be read here

 

 

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Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use Among Young People in England

This report contains results from a survey of secondary school pupils in England in years 7 to 11. 12,051 pupils in 177 schools completed questionnaires in the autumn term of 2016. | NHS Digital

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This survey report presents information on the percentage of pupils who have ever smoked, tried alcohol or taken drugs and their attitudes towards these behaviours.  It also includes breakdowns by age, gender, ethnicity and region.

Other areas covered include the use of new psychoactive substances (also known as legal highs), beliefs about drinking, whether pupils had ever got drunk and consequences of drinking. Questions on the use of nitrous oxide have also been asked for the first time.

Key Facts

In 2016

  • 19 per cent of 11-15 year old pupils had ever smoked, which is similar to 2014
  • 44 per cent of pupils had ever drunk alcohol
  • 24 per cent of pupils reported they had ever taken drugs. This compares to 15 per cent in 2014. Part of the increase since 2014 may be explained by the addition of questions on nitrous oxide and new psychoactive substances. After allowing for this however, it still represents a large increase. Therefore an estimate from the next survey in 2018 is required before we can be confident that these survey results reflect a genuine trend in the wider population. In the meantime the results for drug taking from this survey should be treated with caution.
  • 3 per cent of pupils were regular smokers, 10 per cent had drunk alcohol in the last week and 10 per cent had taken drugs in the last month.

Full report: Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use Among Young People in England – 2016: Report

Smoking bans having positive impact on child health

Faber, T. et al. Effect of tobacco control policies on perinatal and child health: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Lancet Public Health. Volume 2, No. 9, e420–e437, September 2017

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A global study published in The Lancet Public Health journal has concluded that Child health has improved significantly since the introduction of public smoking bans in many countries.  The systematic review and meta-analysis showed that rates of children needing hospital care for severe chest infections have fallen by more than 18% since anti-smoking laws were introduced.

In line with earlier research, the study authors estimated that severe asthma attacks had fallen by almost 10% while the number of babies born prematurely had dropped by around 4% overall.

Raising taxes on tobacco products may also have improved child health, the researchers said, but the findings were less conclusive.

Full article available here

Related: Smoke-free policy and child health

Experimental vaping does not turn into regular use among young people

Surveys across the UK show most e-cigarette experimentation does not turn into regular use | International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health| Story via OnMedica

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A study, which questioned more than 60,000 young people, found that most e-cigarette experimentation among young people does not turn into regular use. The findings also revealed that levels of regular vaping in young people who have never smoked remains very low.

The work which was part-funded by Cancer Research UK is a collaboration between the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, Public Health England, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), and the DECIPHer Centre at the University of Cardiff.

Full reference: Bauld, L. et al.  Young People’s Use of E-Cigarettes across the United Kingdom: Findings from Five Surveys 2015–2017. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 973.

 

Protecting children from tobacco

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The World Health Organization European Region has published Tobacco-free generations: protecting children from tobacco in the WHO European Region.

This report highlights ongoing and emerging tobacco-related issues that affect children in Europe and examines the regulatory frameworks, commitments and other tools that countries should use to protect children from tobacco. This also includes more novel approaches that could be used to pave the way towards a tobacco-free European Region.

Tobacco control playbook

This resource highlights the arguments and approaches that leaders in health systems across Europe have developed and used to counteract and succeed against the tobacco industry. |WHO Europe

The Tobacco Control Playbook has been developed by collecting numerous evidence-based arguments from different thematic areas, reflecting the challenges that tobacco control leaders have faced while implementing various articles of the WHO FCTC and highlighting arguments they have developed in order to counter and succeed against the tobacco industry.

This is the start of what is intended to be a living document, which will be updated and extended with further arguments and on the basis of feedback, as well as any developments in tobacco industry approaches. Everyone concerned with tobacco control is invited to contribute to its success by continuing to offer arguments and responses, and sharing their experiences through a dedicated website.

UK heart disease deaths fall by over 20% since indoor smoking ban

Smokers aged 35 and above are less likely to die from heart attacks since indoor venues went smoke-free 10 years ago | The Guardian

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Deaths from heart disease and strokes caused by smoking have fallen dramatically since lighting up in pubs, restaurants and other enclosed public places in England was banned 10 years ago.

New figures have shown that the number of smokers aged 35 and over dying from heart attacks and other cardiac conditions has dropped by over 20% since 2007 while fatalities from a stroke are almost 14% down.

The statistics, which Public Health England (PHE) has shared with the Guardian, come as medical, public health and anti-tobacco groups prepare to mark the 10th anniversary next Friday of smoking being prohibited in indoor public places by Tony Blair’s Labour government on 1 July 2007.

Figures collected by PHE’s Local Tobacco Control Profiles network show that while there were 32,548 deaths from heart disease attributable to smoking in 2007-09, there were 25,777 between 2013 and 2015 – a fall of 20.8%. Similarly, a total of 9,743 smokers died from a stroke in 2007-09, but fewer – 8,334 – between 2013 and 2015, a drop of 14.5%.

Read the full news story here